Following complaints from the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), two FIRs have been filed against AltNews Co-Founder Mohammed Zubair under the IT Act and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) in Delhi and Raipur over him having allegedly threatened and tortured a girl child through Twitter, reported The Indian Express.
The complaint sent by NCPCR is based on a Tweet shared by Mohammed Zubair on 6 August 2020, in which he was responding to an abusive message from one Twitter user, who tweets with the handle of @JSINGH2252.
According to Scroll, responding to the abusive tweet, Zubair had posted a picture of @JSINGH2252’s profile photo, while blurring the picture of a girl included in it.
“Hello Jagdish Singh...Does your cute grand daughter know about your part time job of abusing people on social media? I suggest you to change your profile pic,” Zubair had tweeted.
In addition to Zubair, the FIRs also name two other Twitter users, de_real_mask and syedsarwar20, who had commented on the post.
According to The Indian Express, NCPCR had taken cognisance of the post on 8 August and had asked Twitter India to provide it with relevant information.
“Dissatisfied with their response, we summoned Twitter and their representatives appeared before the Commission on Friday. We also wrote to police authorities, and according to the action taken report, FIR has been lodged against alleged persons for threatening and torturing a girl child on Twitter.”NCPCR chairperson Priyank Kanoongo to The Indian Express
'Misuse Of Legal Apparatus', Says AltNews
Reacting to the FIRs against Zubair, AltNews Founder, Pratik Sinha, tweeted the following statement:
“An attempt is being made to hound co-founder of Alt News, Mohammad Zubair (@zoo_bear) through misuse of legal apparatus. Alt News stands by Mohammad Zubair. Zubair has been in the forefront of fighting fake narratives, and his work hurts those who have weaponised misinformation to subvert the Indian democracy.”
Reacting to the FIR, Zubair told The Indian Express that “This is an absolutely frivolous complaint. I will be responding to it legally.”
Netizens Tweet Support With #IStandWithZubair
Many on Twitter took to the platform to state that the charges against Zubair were flimsy and did not take into account the context his statement was made in.
They used the hashtag #IStandWithZubair to register their support.
Many also made monetary contributions to AltNews in solidarity with Zubair.
(With inputs from The Indian Express and Scroll)