Alt News Co-Founder Mohammed Zubair Remanded To Four Days Police Custody
The Delhi Police arrested Mohammed Zubair on June 27 for allegedly hurting religious sentiments.
A Delhi court on Tuesday remanded AltNews co-founder Mohammed Zubair to four days police custody.
The judge granting custody to Delhi police said Zubair has remained non-cooperative and further ruled the aim of allowing police custody was so that Zubair may be taken to Bengaluru to recover the phone and laptop that was used to post the alleged offensive tweet.
Delhi Police arrested Zubair, co-founder of AltNews, a fact-checking site, on Monday on charges of hurting religious sentiments by tweeting an allegedly edited image. In a post-midnight hearing, a duty magistrate had remanded Zubair to one day police custody.
In the remand hearing, the public prosecutor argued that Zubair deliberately intended to outrage religious sentiments adding that, "these deliberate acts necessitated the need to recover his phone and laptop. "He came with a blank phone," the prosecutor said.
On why the police was taking action over a four-year-old tweet the Delhi police claimed, that this was the first time it had come to their knowledge.
Opposing police custody, senior advocate Vrinda Grover representing Zubair argued that the Delhi Police was targeting the fact checker because he was challenging people who speak certain things. Grover alleged that the police were abusing the law, adding that it was being misused to silence citizens. "He is a fact checker and a journalist. People who post fake news and videos do not like it," she argued.
Grover said the tweet in question was not an edited image rather a still from Hrishikesh Mukherjee's 1983 film Kissi Se Na Kehna. Her request to play the 30-secing scene from the film from where the still was tweeted was refused by the judge. The judge noted that, "the argument that the tweet was a film still is of no assistance to the accused at this stage."
Grover argued that many other Twitter handles tweeted the same image for which Zubair has been arrested. Saying that Zubair was also being targetted because of his religion, Grover argued, "the only distinction between Twitter handles who tweeted the same image and me, is my name and the work that I do."