"This is not a place of worship."
Mohammed Zubair was arrested on June 27, 2022, after he refused to hand over personal electronic devices used by him in 2018.
A senior Delhi Police officer said the devices may have been used when Zubair allegedly made the ‘highly provocative’ social media post ‘against a particular religious community’.
Police said Zubair was ‘evasive’ when asked questions and did not provide the ‘necessary technical equipment’ or cooperate with the authorities.
Neither Zubair nor his legal team has commented on this as yet.
Mohammed Zubair was arrested on June 27, 2022 – weeks after he flagged ex-BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma’s comments in the Prophet row.
He was sent to police custody for one day. Custody has since been sought for a further five days.
The FIR against the journalist was registered based on a sub-inspector’s complaint.
Officials added that the document is not online because of its sensitive nature.
In the March 2018 tweet, Zubair shared an image from Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s classic Kissi Se Na Kehna.
It shows a hotel signboard that reads ‘Hanuman Hotel’ in Hindi, but paint marks suggest it was earlier called ‘Honeymoon Hotel’.
Zubair wrote with the image, “Before 2014: Honeymoon Hotel, After 2014: Hanuman Hotel”, in what appeared to be a dig at the BJP coming to power in 2014.
The tweet was posted with an image of the hotel’s signboard.
The FIR states: “Words and the picture found to be used by Mohammed Zubair – @zoo_bear – against a particular religious community and are highly provocative and more than sufficient to incite feeling of hatred among people which can be detrimental for maintenance of public tranquillity.”
Zubair’s lawyer rubbished the police’s claim that he had edited the image and said there was no basis for charges of hurting religious sentiments or promoting enmity.
He said: “This is not a place of worship.
“It is a joke on honeymooners. The entire case borders on absurdity.”
Zubair’s colleague and Alt News co-founder Pratik Sinha has alleged Zubair was arrested without notice.
Pratik Sinha also said that no police person in the van in which Zubair was taken away was wearing any name tag.
On June 28, 2022, he tweeted: “Zubair’s lawyers haven’t been provided the copy despite multiple requests to the concerned police personnel.”
Mohammed Zubair’s arrest has sparked waves of condemnation online, with journalists, activists and opposition leaders speaking out in support.