NEW DELHI: In a big blow to the designs of Alt News Co-Founder Mohammad Zubair, a Sitapur court rejected his bail plea on Thursday. The court observed that Zubair was intentionally involved in spreading “animosity” in society and hurting the sentiments of the people from the Hindu community while rejecting his plea.
The court also observed that Zubair may hamper the evidence, therefore his bail petition should be dismissed.
“From the perusal of the letter, it is known that the accused has been accused of deliberately spreading hatred and causing controversy in the society and slandering the religious sentiments of Hindus and spreading hatred among people of different communities,” Judicial Magistrate First Class Judge Abhinav Srivastava observed.
Zubair was produced by the UP police at Sitapur court on Thursday, from where he was sent for 6 days of police custody. His police remand will be starting from Friday.
Earlier, Zubair was arrested by the Delhi Police in another case. He was booked for promoting enmity among religious groups, based on a tweet he had shared in 2018.
While he was in judicial custody in Tihar Jail, UP Police put him under arrest in their case and brought him to Sitapur on June 5.
The complaint was filed by Hindu Sher Sena Sitapur district president Bhagwan Sharan at Khairabad police station on June 1. In his complaint, Saran alleged that Zubair had called Yati Narasinghanand, Bajrang Muni and Anand Swaroop ‘hate mongers’ in a tweet posted on May 27.
Zubair was booked under sections 295A (deliberate and malicious act intended to outrage religious feelings) and 67 IT Act in the UP police case. Later, another section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth and residence) was also added to the FIR.
The defense counsel told the court that tweeting something does not call for a criminal act, which was, however, countered by the government counsel.
After listening to both sides, the court said that it appeared that Zubair was intentionally involved in hurting the sentiments of the people from the Hindu community.
“He wanted to create a dispute among Hindus and Muslims and hurt the religious feelings of different communities. The matter is serious… If he is allowed to grant bail he could influence the evidence,” the court said while dismissing the bail plea.
UP Police told the court that he would be taken to his native place in Bengaluru so that his mobile phone and other gadgets through which he tweeted on May 27 could be recovered. Therefore, they want his further remand.
Meanwhile, in Delhi, the Supreme Court also heard the petition of Zubair for quashing the FIR filed in Sitapur.
Zubair’s lawyer Colin Gonsalves approached the Apex Court against the Allahabad high court refusing to quash the FIR against him on June 13.
Saying that Zubair faces death threats, Senior Advocate Gonsalves requested for an “urgent hearing if possible today itself may be at 2 pm”.
The bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and JK Maheshwari, however, said that only the Chief Justice of India (CJI) could list this issue. The court then ordered the case to be scheduled for the next day (Friday, July 8). It will be heard only with the approval of CJI, it said.
Before this, Zubair had also applied for the same at Allahabad High Court, but it was later dismissed.