New Delhi: On Monday, Delhi Police arrested Journalist and co-founder of the fact-checking website Alt News, Mohammad Zubair for hurting religious sentiments and inciting riots.“Today, during the course of investigation of a case registered at PS-Special Cell u/s 153A/295A IPC, alleged Mohammed Zubair was joined in the investigation of the case and after having sufficient evidence on record, he was arrested in the present case,” said DCP Special Cell KPS Malhotra.
Zubair was booked under sections 153A (promotion of enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language) and 295A (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Delhi Police said.
Another co-founder of the website, Pratik Sinha, in a tweet, said Zubair was called by a special cell of the Delhi police for investigation into a 2020 case for which he already had protection against arrest.”However, today at around 6.45 PM we were told he has been arrested in some other FIR for which no notice was given which mandatory under law for the sections under which he has been arrested,” the tweet read.”No FIR copy is being given to us despite repeated requests,” Sinha further said.
Please note. pic.twitter.com/gMmassggbx
— Pratik Sinha (@free_thinker) June 27, 2022
After this, Stating that AltNews provides an “important service”, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor termed Mr Zubair’s arrest as an “attack on the truth” and demanded his release.
India’s few fact-checking services, especially @AltNews, perform a vital service in our post-truth political environment, rife with disinformation. They debunk falsehoods whoever perpetrates them. To arrest @zoo_bear is an assault on truth. He should be released immediately.
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) June 27, 2022
Another Congress leader, Rajya Sabha member Jairam Ramesh, alleged that the Delhi police is acting in a vengeful manner as AltNews exposes the government’s bogus claims.
Altnews & @zoo_bear have been in the forefront of exposing the bogus claims of the Vishguru, who has struck back with a vengeance characteristic of him. Delhi Police, reporting to the Union Home Minister, has long lost any pretensions of professionalism and independence. https://t.co/OPi1MMth5g
— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) June 27, 2022