Mohammad Zubair, Muslim Journalist With India’s Leading Fact-Checking Website, Says He Was Arrested Because He Criticized Hindu Extremist BJP Government
Mohammad Zubair, a Muslim journalist and co-founder of the fact-checking news portal AltNews, has said he was arrested not for his satirical tweets but for his longstanding criticism of Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
“It is quite apparent that I was not arrested for my old tweets or that Facebook parody post,” Zubair said in an interview with The Wire, an Indian news portal. “Every old post was a criticism of outrageous statements made by politicians.” Zubair’s arrest last month at the behest of Hindu extremists had sparked international condemnation. He was later released by India’s Supreme Court.
“As soon as my tweet calling out the comments of BJP spokespersons went viral and there was diplomatic flak against the government, I knew that they would come after me.”
Responding to the fact that significant parts of Indian mainstream media celebrated his arrest, Zubair stated that the pro-Modi media “incites hate and celebrates vigilante justice.”
“Earlier, when their fake news was called out, they issued apologies but now they do it with complete impunity. My work embarrasses them. They fear public accountability for dividing society and filling people with fear,” he said.
Zubair added he had been privileged enough to receive bail, and that his experience was not the norm.
“I met many young prisoners in jail who have languished there for years merely for social media posts. I met young Kashmiris whose families can’t fight long legal battles. It brought tears to my eyes while hearing their ordeal.”
When asked what his message is to young journalists, Zubair said, “A Muslim man asking for accountability and working as a journalist is not a crime… Don’t let the propaganda around you go on without a counter.”
Karnataka Chief Minister To Visit Families Of Muslim Mob Lynching Victims Only After Criticism
Karnataka Chief Minister and BJP leader Basavaraj Bommai is slated to visit the families of two Muslim mob lynching victims, Mohammad Fazil and Mohammad Mashood, only after criticism from the opposition.
Nineteen-year-old Mashood was beaten to death with a soda bottle by eight Hindu men on July 19, while 23-year-old Fazil was stabbed to death by four masked Hindu assailants in a suspected “revenge killing” a day after the murder of Praveen Nettaru, a BJP youth leader.
While Bommai was quick to visit Nettaru and offer monetary compensation to his family, he did not visit the families of Fazil and Mashood, despite the fact that Mashood’s family lives in the same village as Nettaru’s.
The openly discriminatory condolences were slammed by Karnataka opposition leaders, including H. D. Kumaraswamy, who stated that Bommai was “behaving as the chief minister of BJP rather than that of state.”
BJP Leaders “Purify” Uttar Pradesh School After Hindu Extremists Protest Recitation Of Muslim Prayers
BJP leaders have “purified” the premises of an Uttar Pradesh school with Hindu holy water after Hindu supremacists protested the school’s longtime practice of teaching students Muslim prayers alongside Hindu prayers in class.
The Hindu extremist outrage was triggered after a video of a woman asking her daughter wearing the school’s uniform about Muslim prayers went viral. The video was tweeted tagging Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, an openly anti-Muslim Hindu supremacist.
Local BJP leader Mahendra Shukla has demanded “strict action” against the school management, saying, “How can they make students recite kalima [Muslim prayer]? This is not justified.”
According to the school principal, Sumit Makhija, the students have been reciting Hindu, Sikh, Christian, and Muslim prayers for the last 12-13 years without incident.
Notably, no Muslim parents have openly objected to the recitation of Hindu prayers, while Hindu supremacists have gone as far as to demand a “cleanse” of the school after Muslim prayers were recited.