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Alt News Co-founder Mohammad Zubair Denied Bail by UP Court in 2021 Case

A case was registered in 2021 against Zubair by a Sudarshan News staffer.

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India
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Alt News Co-founder Mohammad Zubair Denied Bail by UP Court in 2021 Case
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An Uttar Pradesh court on Saturday, 16 July, rejected the bail petition of Alt News co-founder Mohammad Zubair in connection with an FIR lodged against him in 2021 for allegedly promoting enmity.

“After hearing the arguments by the prosecution and the defense counsel, Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (ACJM) Ruchi Srivastava rejected Zubair’s bail plea,” Senior Prosecuting Officer (SPO) SP Yadav told PTI.

A case was registered under Section 153-A (promoting enmity between two groups) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against the fact-checker after a Sudarshan News staffer accused Zubair of propagating 'fake news' on Twitter with the motive of disturbing communal harmony.

The FIR was registered in September last year at the Mohammadi police station on a Lakhimpur Kheri court's order, the warrant for which was issued to Zubair at the Sitapur district jail on Friday, 15 July.

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The bail application was moved before Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Mohamaddi on 11 July after a Lakhimpur Kheri court remanded him to 14-days' judicial custody in the case.

Background of The Case

In the FIR accessed by The Quint, the complainant, named Ashish Kumar Katiyar, accused Zubair of propagating 'fake news' on Twitter with the motive of disturbing communal harmony.

The complainant is an employee of the right-wing channel Sudarshan News, and has alleged that Zubair's tweet is misleading people about the media outlet.

Katiyar reportedly took objection to a tweet in which Zubair had pointed out that Sudarshan News used images of Al-Masjid an-Nabawi from Madina and superimposed it on an old picture from Gaza, with graphics bombing the mosque, during a broadcast.

The Cases Against Zubair 

A barrage of FIRs against Zubair have kindled into action since Zubair shared a video of suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma that went on to ignite an international controversy.

An FIR was registered against Zubair at UP’s Sitapur on 3 June, under Section 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage reli­gious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or reli­gious beliefs) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 67 of the Information Technology (IT) Act.

Zubair was also arrested by the police in another case in an unanticipated move in a case pertaining to a 2018 tweet by him carrying a "questionable image with a purpose to deliberately insult the god of a particular religion," as per the police.

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He was also among the nine persons booked in Ghaziabad last year in connection with their reportage on the assault of an elderly man in Loni district in May 2021.

These are just a few out of the eight FIRs against Zubair - six in UP and two in Delhi.

(With inputs from PTI)

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