New Delhi: Following a complaint from the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), the Delhi Police cyber cell and the Raipur Police have lodged two FIRs against Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair along with two Twitter users in Delhi and Raipur under sections of the IT Act and the POCSO Act for allegedly “harassing and torturing” a minor girl on social media.
On August 6, Zubair while responding to online abuse from Twitter user Jagdish Singh (@JSINGH2252), shared Singh’s display picture with a little girl (blurring her face) and wrote, “Hello Jagdish Singh. Does your cute grand daughter know about your part time job of abusing people on social media? I suggest you to change your profile pic.”
Two Twitter users who are named in the FIRs along with Zubair had commented on this post.
On August 8, the NCPCR, after receiving a complaint from the Forum for Indigenous Rights- North-East India, wrote to the Delhi deputy commissioner of police and the nodal cyber cell officer to initiate action against Zubair.
The two FIRs have been filed under section 509B (sexual harassment by electronic mode) of the Indian Penal Code, section 12 (punishment for committing sexual harassment upon a child) of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, and section 67 (punishment for publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form) of the Information Technology (IT) Act.
NCPCR chairperson Priyank Kanoongo said that Twitter representatives appeared before the Commission on Friday and they will provide relevant information in the matter within 10 days.
According to the police, some comments on the post were classified as harassment. “We have registered the FIR against the three Twitter handles but investigation work is still going on,” said Raipur superintendent of police Ajay Yadav.
Terming the complaint “frivolous”, Zubair told Indian Express that he would respond to it legally.
On Sunday, Alt News released its statement, saying, “An attempt is being made to hound co-founder of Alt News, Mohammed Zubair through misuse of legal apparatus. Alt News stands by Mohammed Zubair. Zubair has been in the forefront of fighting fake narratives, and his work hurts those who have weaponised misinformation to subvert the Indian democracy.”