New Delhi: On Thursday, Alt News co-founder and Fact-Checker Mohammad Zubair moved the Supreme Court seeking quashing of a hate speech FIR lodged against him in Sitapur in Uttar Pradesh and pre-arrest bail. Zubair’s lawyer Colin Gonsalves has approached the Supreme Court against the Allahabad High Court’s refusal to quash the FIR against him on June 13.
Gonsalves said Zubair is receiving death threats and there is genuine concern about his safety. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the petition on Friday, July 8. Mr Zubair, a resident of Bengaluru and co-founder of fact-checking outlet Alt News, is in Delhi’s Tihar Jail as he was first arrested by the Delhi Police on June 27 over a four-year-old tweet. He was later taken to Sitapur in UP where another FIR is registered against him as he called some Hindu right-wing leaders “hatemongers”.
On Monday, Zubair was produced in a court in Sitapur in connection with an FIR lodged against him for allegedly calling Hindu seers “hate mongers”. The FIR was lodged against Zubair under IPC section 295A (deliberate and malicious act intended to outrage religious feelings) and section 67 of the IT Act here on a complaint by a Hindu group.
The court sent Zubair to 14 days’ judicial custody in the case. The Delhi Police has invoked new provisions — sections 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 201 (destruction of evidence) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and section 35 of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act — against Zubair.