The Muzaffarnagar Police on Monday registered a case against Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair on charges of disclosing the identity of a seven-year-old Muslim boy who was slapped by his classmates on the order of their teacher.
Zubair has been booked under Section 74 of the Juvenile Justice Act on a complaint filed by a person named Vishnudutt. The law makes it punishable to disclose the identity of a child victim or witness of a crime. Those held guilty could be sentenced to six months in jail or be asked to pay a fine of up to Rs 2 lakh.
On August 24, a video of the Muslim boy being slapped by his classmates went viral on social media. The incident took place in Muzaffarnagar’s Neha Public School, owned by Tripta Tyagi, who was the teacher seen in the video asking the boy’s classmates to hit him.
“I have declared – all these Muslim children, go to anyone’s area,” she can be heard telling a man off camera who agrees. She then asks another boy to hit the Muslim student on his back, saying: “Start hitting him on the waist... His face is turning red, hit him on the waist everyone.”
Tyagi has been booked under Sections 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) and 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) of the Indian Penal Code. However, the case against her has been registered under non-cognisable charges. This means that the police cannot arrest her without a warrant. The police also need permission from a court to start an investigation.
The FIR registered against Zubair alleges that the journalist had disclosed the identity of the boy by sharing a video of the incident on social media.
Zubair told Scroll on Monday that he was being targeted. The journalist added that he had removed the video after National Commission for Protection Of Child Rights chief Priyank Kanoongo asked social media users not to share the clipping.
“I am the only one named in the FIR even though many others including media outlets posted the video,” Zubair told Scroll. “In fact there are other videos revealing the identity of the kid including the video of him hugging his classmates.”
Zubair said that the police have not yet contacted him on the matter.