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Cops call Fact-Checker Mohammed Zubair’s post ‘highly provocative’: Report

New Delhi: Fact-checker Mohammed Zubair was detained Friday night for a 2018 tweet that was ‘extremely offensive and more than adequate to provoke feelings of hatred’ among individuals, according to a Delhi Police First Information Report (FIR). In the tweet, Mohammed Zubair, co-founder of the fact-checking website Alt News, tweeted a clip from Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s 1983 masterpiece Kissi Se Na Kehna.

The image depicts a hotel sign that says ‘Hanuman Hotel’ in Hindi. Paint markings indicate that it was once known as the ‘Honeymoon Hotel,’ and the ‘Honeymoon’ was altered to ‘Hanuman’.  ‘Before 2014: Honeymoon Hotel, After 2014: Hanuman Hotel,’ Mr. Zubair stated in a tweet. Mr Zubair was accused of inciting religious hatred and spreading enmity and was detained by police for one day. The police requested a week’s incarceration, but the magistrate refused.

The FIR was filed when Delhi Police Sub-Inspector Arun Kumar filed a complaint. The officer stated that he was watching social media when he noticed a tweet from an account called ‘Hanuman Bhakt’ objecting to Mr Zubair’s message. ‘ Transmission and publishing of such postings were done on purpose by Mohammed [email protected] bear using electronic media to offend the religious emotions of a certain group with the goal to incite a breach of peace…,’ according to the FIR.

Alt News co-founder Pratik Sinha tweeted yesterday that Mr. Zubair was summoned to Delhi for interrogation in a different matter from 2020, in which the court had granted him bail. However, he was detained in this new instance without warning, according to Mr. Sinha. ‘ Despite numerous inquiries, we have received no copy of the FIR.’ The arrest has sparked widespread criticism, with the opposition focusing on Delhi Police, which reports to the Union Home Ministry. Trinamool MP Mahua Moitra claimed Delhi Police was ‘bending over backward to placate sahibs,’ drawing a contrast with suspended BJP spokeswoman Nupur Sharma, whose statements against Prophet Muhammad sparked protests and condemnation from numerous Gulf nations.

‘@zoo bear was detained on a fabricated charge without notice while aiding in a case where HC had granted him protection. While Ms. Fringe Sharma receives lifelong protection at the expense of the taxpayers for the EXACT same offences,’ She sent a tweet. Ms. Moitra also tweeted a photo from the 1983 film with the caption, ‘This is definitely the insane fringe.  Arresting one voice of truth can only give rise to a thousand others,’ tweeted Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. Mr. Zubair’s detention, said to Congress politician Shashi Tharoor, is an ‘attack on truth’.

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