Arrest of Indian Muslim journalist raises huge freedom concerns

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Authorities in India’s capital city of New Delhi on Monday arrested Muslim journalist Mohammed Zubair for a 2018 tweet that allegedly hurt religious sentiments and promoted enmity.

Zubair, who is the co-founder of fact-checking website Alt News, has been a vocal critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.

He also routinely calls out hate speech by Hindu fringe groups on the internet and writes about the marginalization of India’s Muslim minority.

Alt News co-founder Pratik Sinha said Zubair was arrested illegally and was being held by Delhi Police.

While the police sought to keep him in custody for seven days, judicial authorities allowed only one day in custody, directing them to produce Zubair in front of a magistrate later on Tuesday.

Indian media reported that Zubair was arrested after a Twitter user filed a complaint against the fact-checker.

Zubair is accused of violating the country’s law on religious harmony in a tweet he wrote in 2018 concerning the renaming of a hotel after the Hindu god Hanuman.