Journalist Mohammed Zubair on Thursday moved the Delhi High Court challenging a city court’s order to send him in a four-day police remand, PTI reported.
Justice Sanjeev Narula has agreed hear the matter on Friday.
Zubair, a co-founder of the fact-checking website Alt News was arrested by the Delhi Police on Monday on charges of hurting religious sentiments for a tweet he posted in March 2018. A magistrate had initially sent him to police custody for a day.
On Tuesday, Zubair was produced at the Patiala House Court, where Magistrate Snigdha Sarvaria agreed to the prosecution’s arguments and remanded him in police custody till July 2. The police had said that Zubair has been booked in other cases as well and claimed that he was not cooperating in the investigation.
At the hearing, Zubair’s lawyer, Senior Advocate Vrinda Grover had told the court that the image posted by the journalist in his tweet is from a 1983 Hindi film. However, the public prosecutor claimed that Zubair had made at least four social media posts that insulted religious sentiments.
Meanwhile, a four-member team of the Delhi Police flew Zubair to his Bengaluru home on Thursday afternoon to recover his electronic devices as part of the investigation, The Indian Express reported.
“A team is at his home and will collect all electronic evidence that will help in the case,” a senior police officer said. “We are looking for a laptop and another phone which were used to post tweets and store media.”
Case against Zubair
The first information report against Zubair was based on a complaint by Delhi Police Sub-Inspector Arun Kumar, who said he was monitoring social media when he came across the March 2018 tweet after a handle named Hanuman Bhakt raised objections.
The handle had posted only one message on the microblogging site until Monday evening and had only three followers. However, on Wednesday, a message on the social media platform said that the account did not exist anymore.
The handle had taken objection to Zubair’s tweet, showing a hotel signboard with the name “Honeymoon Hotel” repainted to “Hanuman Hotel”.
Several press bodies have criticised Zubair’s arrest and called for his unconditional release. A spokesperson for United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Tuesday said that journalists anywhere in the world should not be jailed for what they write, tweet or say.