Listen to this article:
New Delhi: DIGIPUB has condemned the arrest of journalist and Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair by the Delhi Police, and called it “unjustifiable” to use “stringent laws” to go after journalists.
On Monday, June 27, evening, Zubair was arrested by Delhi Police’s special cell in connection with a tweet he posted in 2018. Police booked him for allegedly hurting religious sentiments and promoting enmity after the complainant in the case accused him of “deliberately insult[ing] the god of a particular religion”.
Responding to this, DIGIPUB, an organisation of digital news media organisations, said, “In a democracy, where every individual possesses the right to freedom of speech and expression. It is unjustifiable that such stringent laws are being used as tools against journalists, who have been accorded the role of playing watchdog against the misuse of the institutions of the state.”
While stating that DIGIPUB “firmly stands with Zubar”, it urged the Delhi Police to “immediately” withdraw the case.
It said that this is the sixth such FIR (first information report) filed against Zubair in the last two years. Earlier Zubair was booked by police in Uttar Pradesh’s Khairabad after he called Hindutva leaders Yati Narasinghanand, Mahant Bajrang Muni and Anand Swaroop “hatemongers” in a tweet.
According to Pratik Sinha, another co-founder of the news outlet, he and Zubair were summoned by Delhi Police’s special cell on Monday, June 27, in connection with a 2020 case for which Zubair already had protection from the high court. However, Sinha added, the Delhi Police arrested Zubair on Monday evening in connection with “some other FIR [first information report] for which no notice was given”. Sinha alleged that despite repeated requests, no FIR copy was presented to them.
In a tweet, Sinha said, “After the medical examination, Zubair is being taken to an undisclosed location. Neither Zubair’s lawyers or I are being told where. We are in the police van with him. No police person is wearing any name tag.”