Indian police arrest journalist over tweets

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Indian police arrest journalist over tweets

Messagepar geemong » Ven 1 Juil 2022 10:07

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Indian police arrest journalist over tweets


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Police in India have arrested the co-founder of a fact-checking website who has been a vocal critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government.

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Mohammed Zubair of AltNews has been accused of insulting Hindu religious beliefs on Twitter, a network of media organisations said.

Opposition leaders and journalists have condemned the arrest.

They said it was a clear attempt by the Hindu-nationalist government to clamp down on those who expose hate speech.

Mr Zubair recently highlighted comments by a spokesperson of the governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) allegedly insulting the Prophet Muhammad during a television debate. His tweet was widely shared and led to several Muslim countries lodging strong protests with India.

In recent weeks, Hindu nationalists have drawn attention to past comments made by Mr Zubair and demanded that he be prosecuted for hurting their religious feelings.

On Monday, Mr Zubair was detained over a complaint from a Twitter account that said he insulted Hindus in a 2018 post commenting on the renaming of a hotel after the Hindu monkey god Hanuman, the ANI news agency reported, citing senior Delhi police officials.

A statement by the police later said that the tweet had been amplified by Mr Zubair's Twitter followers and "created a series of debates/hate mongering".

Police claim their investigation found Mr Zubair's conduct "questionable" which "warranted his custodial interrogation".

Pratik Sinha, also a co-founder of AltNews, who accompanied him to the police, said neither he nor Mr Zubair's lawyers were provided with a copy of the complaint on which the arrest was made.

They were also initially not told where he was being taken after being detained.

Mr Zubair was produced before a local magistrate late on Monday night who granted the police one day's custody. Following this, he was allowed to meet his lawyer. A court on Tuesday remanded him in custody for a further four days.
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