Supreme Court Orders Release Of Jailed Muslim Fact-Checker Mohammed Zubair, Moves Criminal Cases Against Him Outside Uttar Pradesh
The Supreme Court has ordered the release of Mohammed Zubair, a Muslim journalist who is the co-founder of the fact-checking news site AltNews, after granting him bail in six cases registered against him in Uttar Pradesh by its Hindu nationalist government.
“In the present case, there is no justification to keep him in continued custody any further and subject him to diverse proceedings when the gravamen of allegations arises from the tweets which form part of investigation by Delhi Police,” the judges who ordered his release said.
The Court also turned down the Uttar Pradesh government’s plea to stop Zubair from tweeting, saying, “We cannot stop him from tweeting. We cannot anticipatorily interdict him from exercising his right of free speech…. Evidence is all in the public domain.”
The Court further ordered the disbandment of the Special Investigation Team formed by the Uttar Pradesh police to investigate the cases against Zubair, calling it “redundant.”
Earlier, the Supreme Court had pointed out that Zubair was caught in a “vicious cycle” of judicial harassment as the state’s Hindu nationalist government that routinely harasses Muslim critics registered a number of cases against him for years-old tweets, alleging that he had hurt Hindu sentiments by criticizing Hindu extremist narratives, fact checking propaganda, and posting satirical content.
Uttar Pradesh Youth Arrested For Calling RSS A “Terrorist Organization” In Facebook Post
A youth was arrested in Uttar Pradesh state after calling the paramilitary Hindu supremacist organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) a “terrorist organization” in a Facebook post. The youth, whose username is Satyeer, is having his identity ascertained by law enforcement.
The RSS is the ideological parent of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which also rules Uttar Pradesh. RSS members commonly take part in violent attacks against minorities, including mob lynchings, mosque demolitions, and other forms of harassment.
Satyeer’s post was discovered after a volunteer was hired by police to monitor social media activities, demonstrating the tight control Hindu extremists are trying to gain over freedom of expression and dissent.
As Karnataka Hijab Ban Remains Ongoing, Muslims Seek To Open Colleges Allowing Hijab
As Karnataka state’s hijab ban remains in place, forcing tens of thousands of hijabi Muslim students to choose between their education and their clothing, Muslim educational institutions have sought the state government’s permission to set up Pre-University Colleges that will be hijab-friendly.
So far, only one Muslim institution has been granted permission to set up a college. Meanwhile, Muslim students continue to be forced out of educational spaces, including classrooms and exam halls, as they maintain that they have a constitutional right to religious expression.
The matter remains pending before the Supreme Court, which has refused to urgently list the Muslim students’ petition against the hijab ban.