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Alt News co-founder Zubair’s bail plea rejected by Lakhimpur Kheri court in fact-check case

By Priyanka Verma 
Updated Date

New Delhi: Fact-Checker and Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair’s bail plea rejected by Mohammadi’s sessions court in Lakhimpur Kheri. The complaint has been filed by a Sudarshan News employee for a tweet by Mr Zubair last year in the Lakhimpur case. The FIR was lodged against the journalist at Mohammadi police station for promoting enmity between groups and defaming a local channel through his tweet.

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The hearing on the police remand will take place on July 20, Mohammad Zubair’s lawyer Harjeet Singh confirmed. The journalist was summoned by a Lakhimpur Kheri court in a case registered against him in September 18, 2021.The court had sent him to judicial custody for 14 days on Monday.

A total of seven FIRs — six in UP and one in Delhi — have been filed against Mr Zubair, the co-founder of fact-check website Alt News. A warrant was issued against him in Mohammadi in a September 2021 case filed by a Sudarshan News employee for the fact-check tweet. A bail hearing in the case on July 13 was postponed till Saturday after the plaintiff raised an objection against the application from Zubair’s end that was filed in English.

The fact-checker has been arrested in four out of the seven cases, and judicial custody has been ordered in two cases. On Friday, a Delhi court granted him bail in a case related to an allegedly objectionable tweet, observing that “the voice of dissent is necessary for a healthy democracy”. The FIR in this case was lodged on June 20 on the grounds of a complaint filed by the Duty Officer of the IFSO unit of the Delhi Police Special Cell, which tackles cyber crimes.

According to the information, Zubair was booked by the Delhi Police 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 saidOn June 21, Zubair was first arrested and sent to police custody after an First Information Report (FIR) was registered against him based on a Twitter posting, which another Twitter handle alleged that it “hurt Hindu sentiments.”

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