A Hathras court on Thursday remanded Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair to 14 days’ judicial custody in a case in which he is accused of hurting religious sentiments, his lawyer said.
Zubair was produced before Chief Judicial Magistrate Shivkumari under heavy security in connection with a case filed at the Sadar Kotwali police station on June 14.
The journalist who founded a fact-checking website faces similar cases in different places over a Twitter post four years back, which the complainants say outraged Hindu sentiments.
Zubair was brought to the Hathras court from Delhi’s Tihar jail with a Delhi Police escort, and remanded to judicial custody till July 27.
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His lawyer Umang Rawat argued that since the matter is four years old, the journalist’s arrest was “malafide” and made under “political pressure.” On Tuesday, the Uttar Pradesh Police had constituted a special investigation team (SIT) for a ”transparent” probe into cases lodged against him in various districts.
The team headed by Inspector General (Prisons) Preetinder Singh has been asked to conduct an investigation “expeditiously” and submit a charge sheet in court.
Separate FIRs have been lodged against Zubair in Sitapur, Lakhimpur Kheri, Ghaziabad, Muzaffarnagar and Hathras districts in Uttar Pradesh for allegedly hurting religious feelings, making sarcastic remarks on news anchors and disrespecting Hindu deities.
His lawyer told the Hathras court that the investigating officer in the case should be a “technical expert ” as the case related to an IT matter.
Earlier this week, the Supreme Court extended Zubair’s interim bail till further orders in a case lodged in Sitapur district.
But the relief did not have an effect as the journalist was already in judicial custody ordered by a Delhi court in another case.
The Delhi Police had arrested him on June 27 for allegedly hurting religious sentiments through one of his tweets.