New Delhi(India): The Supreme Court of India has granted interim bail to Mohammad Zubair, a prominent fact-checker and journalist. He brought into the limelight the controversial remarks of ruling party spokesperson Nupur Sharma against Prophet Muhammad.
The top court on Wednesday ordered that Mr Zubair be immediately released from jail, saying there was no justification for keeping him in custody.
Since his arrest over a tweet at the end of June, Mr Zubair had spent most of his time locked up between jails and courts.
The police took him in and out of a courtroom in Delhi, and then, as new charges were levelled against him, he was taken to a remote town on the Indo-Nepal border for investigation.
Delhi Police arrested him on 27 June 2018 over a tweet for “insulting Hindu religious beliefs”. Later, they levelled other charges against him, including criminal conspiracy, destruction of evidence and receiving foreign funds.
A few days later, police took him into custody in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. He accused them of using an “offensive term – haters” to describe three Hindu religious leaders who indulged in hate speech in the videos, incited violence against Muslims or raped Muslim women. Threatened. On July 8, the Supreme Court granted him temporary bail for five days in the case after hearing him face death threats. The top court then extended his bail on July 12 and said the final hearing on the police complaint against him would be held on September 7.
On July 15, a Delhi court also granted him bail in the original case, for which the Delhi Police arrested him. But he was still in custody due to half a dozen lawsuits brought against him by the Uttar Pradesh Police.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court directed the Uttar Pradesh Police to club all complaints against Mr Zubair and transfer them to the Delhi Police.
A telecom engineer based in the southern city of Bangalore, Mr Zubair co-founded Alt News in 2017 with former software engineer Prateek Sinha to tackle fake news.
Over the past five years, the website has been instrumental in debunking claims that spread misinformation about religion, caste and unscientific myths.
With over 3,000 articles garnered over 60 million views, Alt News has been the government’s target since its inception in 2017 – with fake videos and messages targeting India’s minority Muslim community. Because of the focus.