Delhi: Mohammed Zubair, the Co-founder of Alt News, a fact-checking website has been arrested by Delhi police today.
Zubair was called to a police station for questioning in connection with a different case but was then arrested under unknown charges.
Pratik Sinha, another co-founder, informed it by a tweet. He expressed surprise and tweeted a note, “Zubair was called by the special cell of Delhi police for an investigation in a 2020 case which he had already protected against arrest from the High Court. 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 is mandatory under law for the Sections under which he has been arrested. No FIR copy is being given to us despite repeated requests.”
Pratik again tweet at 8.38 pm: “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 (sic).”
Zubair was originally summoned for questioning in the 2020 POCSO case but has been arrested in a different case.
The POCSO case against Zubair was registered in 2020 over his tweet calling out an abusive user and confronting him. A user had abused Zubair in a reply to his tweet about a fact check, and Zubair had responded by sharing the user’s profile picture with the caption: “Does your cute granddaughter know about your part-time job of abusing people on social media? I suggest you change your profile pic.” Zubair had blurred out the minor girl’s face while sharing it. Later, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) asked for action to be taken against Zubair following an official complaint from the abusive handle. The Delhi police’s cyber cell had then booked him under sections of the POCSO Act as well as the IT Act. At the time, Alt News had rubbished charges against Zubair that he had doxxed the minor. Zubair had then approached the Delhi High Court and the court had restrained the Delhi police from taking any coercive action against him.
The Delhi police has issued a statement on the arrest of Zubair: “Today during the course of investigation of 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. He is being produced before the magistrate for seeking further PC remand for the purpose of the investigation of the case.”
Last month, Zubair was booked by Uttar Pradesh police for a tweet where he called three controversial Hindu leaders Yati Narasinghanand, Mahant Bajrang Muni and Anand Swaroop– hatemongers.
The three leaders are known for making provocative speeches against Muslims and Narsinghanand was also jailed in a hate speech case.
Zubair has been relentlessly debunking fake news for several years now.