The Hindutva hate mongers seem to have the last laugh as they won’t like their disinformation campaigns to face stumbling blocks in the form of fact-check by Zubair and his company
NEW DELHI – Close on the heels of the Supreme Court’s bail in one case another case has come to haunt Mohammad Zubair whereby the police in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur have obtained a warrant from the court asking him to appear before it on July 11. There appears to be no respite in sight for the Muslim fact-checker amid mounting state offensive.
The warrant came on Friday shortly after the Alt News Co-founder was given interim bail by the Supreme Court in another case in the Sitapur district. As a result, he continues to remain behind bars under the case filed by the Delhi Police over a 2018 satirical tweet that allegedly hurt the sentiments of Hindus.
The case in Kheri was filed in September last year under the direction of a court after a local reporter of the ultra-right TV channel Sudarshan News complained that a May 20121 tweet of Zubair damaged the reputation of the channel. Zubair had said that the channel was promoting extremist content after it aired doctored visuals of the Masjid Al Nabwai in Madina to showcase Israel’s bombing of the Gaza Strip in 2021.
Zubair had posted the screenshots of Sudarshan TV from the YouTube Channel showing the famous Madina mosque being bombed by Israeli rockets on his Twitter account with the question, “Is this reporting or trying to incite violence?”
Hindu right-wing media routinely broadcast Islamophobic content unabashedly using doctored visuals of prominent Muslim places of worship. In his tweet, Zubair, while fact-checking the visuals, had hoped that the UP Police would take action against the disinformation and hate content.
Instead, months later, he himself came into the crosshairs of the police with charges of promoting enmity between two groups under Section 153-A. Back then, the UP Police did not summon or arrest Zubair. But almost a year later, he received the warrant when he is being hauled from city to city in what appears to be a full-blown witch-hunt to silence him. The Hindutva hate mongers seem to have the last laugh as they won’t like their disinformation campaigns to face stumbling blocks in the form of fact-checks by Zubair and his company.
In the Sitapur case, Zubair is facing charges of hurting the religious sentiments of Hindus for labeling three Hindu controversial monks, Yati Narasinghanand, Mahant Bajrang Muni, and Anand Swaroop, “hate mongers” in a tweet. The monks are facing cases under charges of hate speech. One of them, Muni, had openly given calls for the rape of Muslim women.
“Even if a single Hindu woman is harassed, I will pick your daughters from your homes and rape them,” Munni had said addressing a crowd in the presence of police in Sitapur’s Khairabad town on April 2.
On Friday, the state, while arguing against Zubair in the Supreme Court, defended Munni as a “respected religious leader”. The comments sparked angry reactions from Muslim women who said they were shocked to find that the government was defending a person who made calls for rape.
Student activist Safoora Zargar asked why the government was “so hell-bent” on protecting them. “Remember, genocide started with hate speech. And will go down in history as the single most accelerator of hate speech in the country,” she said.