A FIR has been lodged in Uttar Pradesh against Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair for allegedly hurting religious sentiments by referring to Mahant Bajrang Muni 'Udasin', Yati Narsinghanand, and Swami Anand Swarup as "hatemongers" on Twitter.
Zubair has been booked by the Khairabad police in Sitapur under IPC section 295A, deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs, and Section 67, publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form.
The FIR was lodged after a complaint by Bhagwan Sharan, the Sitapur unit chief of the Hindu Sher Sena.
“This complaint is with regard to hurting our religious sentiments by using derogatory words against mahants of our dharam sthal, which is a symbol of our faith. On May 27, I saw on Twitter that Mohammad Zubair had used derogatory words like ‘hatemongers’ against Rashtriya Hindu Sher Sena national custodian Bajrang Muni. Zubair had also disrespected Hindu Yati Narsinghanand and Swami Anand Swarup,” read the FIR, as reported by Indian Express. “He (Zubair) has intentionally tried to spread hatred in society and incite Muslims and hurt Hindu sentiments as part of a conspiracy. There is anger among us Hindus by such acts of his,” it added. The complaint added that Zubair was “inciting Muslims to murder Hindu leaders”.
A senior police officer said that the allegations against Zubair were being investigated.
While Zubair hasn't commented on the FIR, Alt News editor-in-chief Pratik Sinha called the complaint a clear example of selective targeting.
“This is a clear case of selective targeting. The three concerned individuals have been called hatemongers by several media organisations. What does a ‘hatemonger’ mean? Somebody who repeatedly uses hate to promote division in society. That is what they have done and hence, they fit into the definition of hatemongers. The work that Alt News does against hate speech and misinformation bothers a lot of people and hence, Zubair is being targeted as he is a co-founder of Alt News,” said Sinha.
“A cursory look at Zubair’s timeline on social media will be enough to show that Zubair never promotes hate or a divisive agenda. His work is journalistic in nature where he tweets on hate speech and misinformationm" added Sinha.