Mohammad Zubair is an Indian journalist and co-founder of Alt News, an Indian non-profit fact-checking website. He made headlines on 27 June 2022 when he was arrested by the Delhi Police for hurting religious sentiments through one of his tweets posted in 2018.
Mohammad Zubair was born on 29 December and hails from Bangalore, Karnataka. His zodiac sign is Capricorn.
He belongs to a Muslim family. Not much is known about his parents and siblings.
Zubair has worked as a software engineer with telecom giant Nokia for more than 10 years. In 2017, Mohammad Zubair and former software engineer Prateek Sinha founded the Alt News website to tackle the phenomenon of fake news. For about a year, Zubair only assisted Sinha in running the site, meanwhile continuing to work for Nokia. He finally quit his job at Nokia in September 2018 and joined Alt News as a full-time employee.
booked under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act
In August 2020, the Delhi Police booked Zubair in the POCSO case based on a complaint filed by Priyank Kanungo, chairman of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR). Two FIRs were registered against him in Delhi and Raipur. On 6 August, while responding to a derogatory message from a Twitter user named Jagdish Singh, Zubair used Singh’s display picture, which featured a little girl, who may have been Singh’s granddaughter. Zubair tweeted, blurring his face in the picture posted,
Hello Jagdish Singh, does your lovely granddaughter know about your part time job of abusing people on social media? I suggest you change your profile picture.”
NCPCR demands action against Zubair for “chasing a minor girl on Twitter”. However, the Delhi High Court granted interim protection from arrest to Zubair in September 2020. In October 2020, the Chhattisgarh High Court passed a similar order.
Nupur Sharma’s derogatory remarks on Prophet Muhammad flagged off
BJP spokesperson in May 2022 Nupur Sharma He made controversial remarks about Prophet Muhammad during a TV debate on Times Now channel, which angered the Muslim community. Mohammad Zubair shared a clip of his displeasure on Twitter flagging off Sharma’s derogatory remarks on Prophet Muhammad. As a result, she accused Zubair of spreading a fake narrative to vitiate the atmosphere, create communal disharmony and create communal hatred against him and his family. He blamed Zubair for the rape threats received from social media users after Zubair’s tweet.
Prime time debates in India have become a platform to encourage hate-mongers to speak ill of other religions. @TimesNowanchor of @navikakumar A fanatic is encouraging communal haters and BJP spokesperson to speak rubbish which can incite riots.
you should be ashamed @vinetjaintimes pic.twitter.com/lrUlkHEJp5
— Mohammad Zubair (@zoo_bear) 27 May 2022
Calling Mahant Bajrang Muni ‘indifferent’, Yeti Narasimhanand and Swami Anand Swaroop as ‘haters’
An FIR was registered in Uttar Pradesh in early June 2022 for hurting religious sentiments by calling Mahant Bajrang Muni ‘indifferent’, Yeti Narasimhanand and Swami Anand Swarup ‘haters’ on Twitter. The FIR was registered on the complaint of Bhagwan Sharan, who heads the Sitapur unit of Hindu Sher Sena.
booked for hurting religious sentiments
On 27 June 2022, he was arrested by the Delhi Police in a case related to an objectionable tweet on a Hindu deity posted in 2018. The picture he posted in his tweet was from Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s 1983 Hindi film “Kissi Se Na Kehna”. A handle named Hanuman Bhakt @balajikijaiiin shared Zubair’s tweet, which read,
Before 2014: Honeymoon Hotels
2014 onwards: Hanuman Hotel
According to the FIR, devotee @balajikijaiiin tweeted, “Associating our Lord Hanuman ji with Honey Moon is a direct insult to Hindus as he is celibate. Please take action against this man.” He was charged under IPC sections 153A (promoting enmity between religious groups) and 295 (injuring or desecrating a place of worship with intent to insult any class of religion). He was then produced before a magistrate, from where he was remanded to one-day police custody. Zubair’s lawyer Vrinda Grover argued that multiple social media users tweeted the same post But the police only targeted Zubair. Grover also alleged that Zubair’s Muslim faith, name and profession made him the target of the police. On 28 June 2022, Zubair was sent to 4-day police custody. His arrest raised concerns about the deteriorating freedom of journalism in India.
Facts / Trivia
- Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for UN chief Antonio Guterres, spoke about Zubair’s arrest while answering a question at a daily news briefing in the United States, saying,
In any place around the world, it is very important that people are allowed to express themselves freely, journalists are allowed to express themselves freely and without any threat of harassment… They should not be jailed for what they write, what they tweet and what they do. it is said. And he goes anywhere in the world, including this room.”
- After his arrest in June 2022, various media houses reported that transactions worth over Rs 50 lakh had taken place in Zubair’s bank account in the past. Alt News co-founder Prateek Sinha in a tweet refuted the allegations against Zubair saying that the police is linking the donations received by Alt News to Zubair.
Fact Check: Absolutely false. The police is linking the donation received by Alt News to Zubair. All the money that Alt News receives goes to the organization’s bank and not to any individual. The bank statement of Zubair’s personal account, a copy of which I have with me, refutes this falsehood. pic.twitter.com/esrmEVpTPp
— Prateek Sinha (@free_thinker) 28 June 2022