A Delhi court on Tuesday extended the custodial interrogation of Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair by four days in a case related to an "objectionable tweet" he had posted in 2018 against a Hindu deity.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Snigdha Sarvaria passed the order after hearing arguments from Delhi Police as well as the accused. Police had sought an extension of Zubair's custody by five days. Zubair was arrested on Monday for hurting religious sentiments.
Earlier this month, a case against him was registered under Sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, language etc.) and 295A (deliberate and malicious act intended to outrage religious feelings) of the Indian Penal Code, said KPS Malhotra, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Cyber Cell).
Alt News co-founder Pratik Sinha alleged that Zubair was arrested in a case for which no notice was given by the police, which is mandatory under law for the sections under which he has been held.
Zubair's arrest has drawn widespread condemnation from journalists, press bodies, and Opposition politicians, who have come out in solidarity with him.
"Zubair has been arrested under sections 153 and 295 of the Indian Penal Code. This is extremely disturbing because Zubair and his website AltNews have done some exemplary work over the past few years in identifying fake news and countering disinformation campaigns, in a very objective and factual manner," said the Editors Guild of India.
The Press Club of India also condemned the arrest.
The Press Club of India demands that Muhammad Zubair be released by the Delhi Police pic.twitter.com/e9I9D1tMjd— Press Club of India (@PCITweets) June 28, 2022
(With PTI inputs)