Mohammed Zubair, the co-founder of fact-checking website Alt News, was arrested on Monday evening by Delhi Police on charges of 'hurting religious sentiments'. The police cited a tweet from 2018 for his arrest. The tweet showed the signboard of a hotel changed from 'Honeymoon Hotel' to 'Hanuman Hotel'. However, the image is taken from a 1983 comedy film 'Kissi Se Na Kehna, directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee.
Senior officials of the Delhi Police told ANI the arrest was made based on the complaint of a Twitter user Hanuman Bhakt @ balajikijaiin who tagged the Delhi Police in the four-year-old tweet by Zubair.
"Linking our God Haunman ji with honeymoon is a direct insult of Hindus because he is brahmchari. Kindly take action against this guy", Hanuman Bhakt @ balajikijaiin had tweeted, according to the Delhi Police. The Twitter handle cited by Delhi Police was created in October 2021 and is based out of Rajasthan, according to the bio.
The cops said Zubair had tweeted a 'questionable image with a purpose to deliberately insult the god of a particular religion'. "Such tweets were getting retweeted and it appeared that there is a brigade of social media entities, who indulge in insult mongering thereby leading to a possible ramification on communal harmony and is overall against the maintenance of public tranquility," the Delhi Police said in a statement.
However, the image in question is actually a scene from a Bollywood comedy film that starred legends like Farooq Shaikh, Deepti Naval and Utpal Dutt. Here is the scene from the film.
Zubair is not the only one to have used the scene from the film to make a meme on social media. An Indian Express article from 2018 had the same scene as its feature image for an article on memes created by fans on 'Avengers: Infinity War' crossover.
Alt News co-founder Pratik Sinha alleged that Zubair was summoned for questioning in a two-year-old POCSO case, but was subsequently arrested on a different charge of spreading communal disharmony. "No FIR copy is being given to us despite repeated requests," co-founder Pratik Sinha wrote.
According to sources, Zubair's arrest has been registered by the IFSO (Intelligence Fusion and Strategic Operations) special cell of the Delhi police which tackles cyber crimes. Sources further said that Zubair has been arrested under section 153 (provocation with intent to cause riot) and section 295A of IPC (hurting religious sentiments).
Updated On: 2022-06-28T15:01:26+05:30