Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair was arrested by Delhi Police on Monday, 27 June, under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 153 (promotion of enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language) and 295 A (outraging religious feelings of any class).
Later at night, the cofounder was produced before the duty magistrate in Burari where he was remanded to one-day police custody.
Zubair is currently at the Dwarka Cyber cell lockup. A 30 minute visit by advocate will be allowed on Tuesday.
The FIR against the Alt-news cofounder 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 tranquillity in the society."
"Transmission and publication of such posts has been deliberately done by 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 153A/295 IPC," the FIR added.
Zubair's colleague and Alt News co-founder Pratik Sinha informed in a tweet, "Counsels Soutik Banerjee and Kawalpreet Kaur appeared for Zubair. The police had sought 7 days police custody. The duty magistrate declined to give long custody and allowed custody for only 1 day. Half hour visitation has been allowed for the lawyer."
Meanwhile, DCP (IFSO) KPS Malhotra told The Quint that the case against Zubair pertains to a tweet by him over which they received a complaint from a Twitter user claiming that their religious sentiments were hurt.
Malhotra added that Zubair is being produced before the magistrate for seeking further PC remand for the purpose of the investigation of the case.
'No FIR Given, Police Not Wearing Name Tags': Zubair's Colleague Pratik Sinha
Pratik Sinha had said that no FIR copy was being given to them "despite repeated requests.”
"Zubair was called today by special cell, Delhi for investigation in a 2020 case for which he already had a protection against arrest from High Court. However, today at around 6.45pm 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. Nor FIR copy is being given to us despite repeated requests," Sinha said in a tweeted statement.
Sinha added in another tweet, "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."
Later, Sinha tweeted, "Without providing any information including a copy of the FIR or remand application in Zubair’s case, we are told that he’s to be produced before a duty magistrate at his residence in Burari. He is currently detained inside a police bus in Burari for more than an hour.
He further said, "I wonder why is the Delhi police in such tearing hurry to bring Zubair all the way from Dwarka to the residence of a duty magistrate in Burari at this hour? Why not just produce him before the regular court tomorrow before the 24 hours end that is not till tomorrow afternoon?"
Arrested Over Which Tweet?
Police officials were quoted as saying, "Present case registered on basis of a post on Twitter by handle Hanuman Bhakt @balajikijaiin where he showed his anger against another Twitter handle in name of Mohammed Zubair regarding the post “BEFORE 2014: Honeymoon Hotel. After 2014: Hanuman Hotel”."
Delhi Police added that a picture in the tweet showed a "signboard of hotel ‘Honeymoon Hotel' changed to ‘Hanuman Hotel’.
The police said that the user, Hanuman Bhakt @balajikijaiin tweeted, “Linking our God Haunman ji with honeymoon is a direct insult of Hindus because he is brahmchari. Kindly take action against this guy.”
Delhi Police added:
"The said post of Mohd Zubair containing picture and words against a particular religious community are highly provocative and done deliberately which are more than sufficient to incite hatred among people which can be detrimental for maintenance of public tranquillity."
The Delhi Police took action after being tagged by the Twitter account and did not receive a formal complaint.
The police further said, "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."
Zubair had earlier been booked for calling three Hindutva leaders "hatemongers."
A First Information Report (FIR) was lodged against Zubair on 1 June, with regard to a tweet of his in which he had called a Hindutva leader named Bajrang Muni a "hatemonger." Muni had allegedly threatened to kidnap and rape Muslim women on 2 April.