The FIR against Mohammed Zubair, the co-founder of fact-checking website AltNews who was arrested by the cyber unit of the Delhi Police on Monday, was registered a week ago, according to officials Tuesday.
The complainant in the case is sub-inspector Arun Kumar, who works with the Intelligence Fusion & Strategic Operations Cell (IFSO) which functions under the Special Cell and handles cases of cybercrime and cyber forensics. The FIR was registered on June 20 under Sections 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups) and 295-A (malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) after a complaint from Kumar.
Kumar was on duty as the emergency duty officer of the social media monitoring cell and came across a tweet by a Twitter handle Hanuman Bhakt @balajikijaiiin, the FIR stated.
“Today, I was present in IFSO (Intelligence Fusion & Strategic Operations) unit of Delhi Police, Dwarka as an emergency officer, and during social media monitoring, it came to notice that a Twitter handle Hanuman Bhakt shared a tweet against another Twitter handle – Mohammed Zubair @zoo_bear in which it has been tweeted by Mohammed Zubair ‘before 2014: Honeymoon hotel, after 2014: Hanuman Hotel…and has shown a picture of a sign board of one hotel, “honeymoon hotel changed to Hanuman hotel,” Kumar stated in his complaint.
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The purported screenshot of the board is from a 1983 Hindi movie.
Kumar further stated, “Bhakt @balajikijaiiin has tweeted that linking our God Hanuman ji with honeymoon is a direct insult of Hindus because he is brahmachari. Kindly take action against this guy.”
Kumar also asked that the investigation of the case be marked to him and that the FIR not be uploaded on their website since it was “sensitive” in nature.
In his complaint, he also stated, “These words and the picture found to be used by Mohammed Zubair @zoo_bear against a particular religious community and are highly provocative and more than sufficient to incite feeling of hatred amongst people which can be detrimental for maintenance of public tranquility in the society. Transmission and publication of such posts has been deliberately done Mohammed Zubair @zoo_bear through electronic media to insult the religious feelings of a particular community with intent to provoke breach of peace which attracts offence under Section 153-A and 295..From the contents of the post from Twitter handle Mohammed Zubair @zoo_bear, offence 153-A and 295 is made out.”
Zubair’s tweet that Kumar referred to was posted in 2018.
According to the police, he has been remanded in police custody for a day and will be produced in court for a bail hearing after Tuesday.
Earlier this month, Zubair had highlighted comments made by the then BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma on Prophet Muhammad, which triggered condemnation from a host of countries, including those from the Gulf. The outrage prompted the Centre to distance itself from Sharma’s comments, and the ruling BJP to suspend her and sack another party spokesperson Naveen Kumar Jindal.
DCP (IFSO) K P S Malhotra had said Monday: “The Delhi Police have registered a case after getting a complaint from a Twitter handle, wherein it was alleged that Mohammed 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.”
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