Video Producer: Mamta
Video Editor: Rajbir Singh & Mohd Irshad Alam
On 27 June, Delhi Police arrested Alt News co-founder Mohammad Zubair for a 2018 tweet under sections 153 (promotion of enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, etc) and 295 (outraging religious feelings) of IPC.
Zubair is accused of hurting religious sentiments by sharing a still from the movie released in 1983 Kissi Se Na Kehna, directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee. In that still, there was a signboard of a hotel, where the name of the hotel was changed from 'Honeymoon' to 'Hanuman'. Zubair's arrest is on the basis of a complaint from an anonymous Twitter handle.
The photo in the tweet is neither a place of worship nor was it clicked by Zubair, and he was not the only one who shared it as it was shared by many others before that.
So, the question is, when the film did not hurt anyone's religious sentiments, then how could Zubair's sharing of a still of that movie do it? The still in the tweet was not even edited by Zubair.
On 26 May, former BJP Spokesperson, Nupur Sharma made controversial remarks against Prophet Muhammad. There were protests throughout the whole world against her remark. The BJP suspended Nupur Sharma but the police did ot arrest her.
If Zubair was arrested, then why is there no legal action against Nupur Sharma?
Delhi Police took Zubair to Sitapur, Uttar Pradesh in connection with another case registered there. In this case, Zubair is accused of making defamatory comments against Hindu religious leaders and hurting religious sentiments, by calling them "hatemongers."
The Hindu leaders Zubair spoke against are – Bajrang Muni, who made rape threats to Muslim women, and Narshinghanand Saraswati, who repeatedly called for violence against Muslims.
How can reporting on such hate speech can be a crime? How can opposing rape and massacre threats hurt someone's religious sentiments?
On 8 July, Zubair got interim bail in the Sitapur case, but he is still in jail because of the 2018 tweet case.
If you will incarcerate journalists, satirists, artists, writers, and political commentators with the accusations of 'hurting sentiments,' then we will be forced to ask – Janab, Aise Kaise?