UN Chief’s Spokesperson, International Organizations Condemn Arrest of Journalist Mohammed Zubair
The spokesperson of United Nations Chief Antonio Guterres responded to a question regarding the arrest of Muslim journalist Mohammad Zubair, saying, “In any place around the world, it is very important that people be allowed to express themselves freely, journalists be allowed to express themselves freely and without the threat of any harassment.”
Zubair is the co-founder of the news portal AltNews, who remains in police custody after he was arrested on the absurd accusation that he had offended Hindu religious sentiments. International bodies have continued to vehemently condemn his arrest.
“The arrest of journalist Mohammad Zubair marks another low for press freedom in India, where the government has created a hostile and unsafe environment for members of the press reporting on sectarian issues,” said Steven Butler, Asia program coordinator of the global watchdog organization Committee to Protect Journalists.
The International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of editors, journalists and media executives defending press freedom, also “strongly condemned” the arrest on Twitter, calling on the Indian government to “uphold free expression and press freedom.”
“It is disturbing that Delhi Police arrested AltNews co-founder around the same time when PM Modi was associating himself with the noble declaration along with world leaders,” said the Press Club of India (PCI), an association of journalists, in a statement.
“The action by the Delhi Police in hastily arresting Muhammad Zubair showed the blatant violation of the country’s commitment on the global platform given by none other than the Prime Minister himself,” the PCI added.
Zubair was arrested on Monday after a Twitter user linked to BJP IT cell reported Zubair’s tweet from 2018 to authorities, in which he shared a clip from a 1983 Hindi movie. The clip shows a hotel signboard, which reads ‘Honeymoon hotel’ repainted to ‘Hanuman (Hindu deity) hotel.’ The account of the complainant has since disappeared.
UN Human Rights Council Slams Arrest of Teesta Setalvad, India Responds Defensively
The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) slammed the arrest of human rights defender Teesta Setalvad, who was arrested by the Gujarat police under blatantly false charges.
“India: We are very concerned by the arrest and detention of #WHRD @TeestaSetalvad and two ex-police officers and call for their immediate release. They must not be persecuted for their activism and solidarity with the victims of the 2002 #GujaratRiots,” the OHCHR said in a tweet on Tuesday.
Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi responded defensively, calling the OHCHR’s statement “unwarranted” and “misleading,” and falsely claiming that the comments “constitute an interference” in India’s judiciary.
Setalvad has played a pivotal role in bringing attention to the fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was responsible for allowing at least 1,000 Muslim women, children, and men to be butchered at the hands of Hindu supremacist mobs in 2002, when Modi was then Chief Minister of Gujarat.
Hindu Extremist Leaders Respond To Brutal Murder Of Hindu Man With Threats Of Retaliation Against Innocent Muslims
The horrific beheading of a Hindu man in Rajasthan state by two Muslim extremists has led Hindu supremacist groups and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders to respond with threats against India’s entire Muslim community.
Vitriolic Hindu supremacist leader Pramod Muthalik openly instigated violence by saying, “We have faced you (Islamic fundamental and invasive forces) for thousands of years and made you bite the dust. You will get [an] answer for this incident of beheading also.”
Alok Kumar, president of the violent Hindu supremacist group Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), said in statement that the murder is a “challenge” to the “sovereignty of India.”
“We in the VHP, people of India and the government of India accept this challenge,” he said, adding, “We will face it and win it.”
“The Rajasthan incident is a challenge to humanity… All this is being done in the name of jihad,” said Nalin Kumar Kateel, BJP chief of Karnataka State.
He further stated that the country should emulate Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s model in tackling religious fundamentalism. Adityanath is a close ally of Modi and a vicious Hindu supremacist who has repeatedly used hate speech against Muslims and encouraged Hindu extremist groups to engage in violence.