Two first information reports have been lodged against AltNews co-founder Mohammed Zubair in Delhi and Raipur under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act for the alleged “online harassment and torture” of a minor girl, The Indian Express reported on Saturday. The police’s action came after it received a complaint from the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights.
Two other Twitter users, with the usernames de_real_mask and syedsarwar20, have also been named in the FIRs, confirmed NCPCR chairperson Priyank Kanoongo. He added that Twitter India has been given an additional time of 10 days to provide them with relevant information. Twitter’s representatives have already appeared before the commission on Friday.
On August 6, Zubair responded to an abusive message from Twitter user Jagdish Singh, who uses the handle @JSINGH2252. He posted Singh’s display picture, which features a little girl who is perhaps his granddaughter. Zubair blurred her face in the image posted.
“Hello Jagdish Singh,” he said. “Does your cute grand daughter know about your part time job of abusing people on social media? I suggest you to change your profile pic.”
The other two handles had commented on the post.
On August 8, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights took note of the matter. The commission had acted on a complaint filed by Forum for Indigenous Rights- North-East India. The commission then wrote to the Delhi deputy commissioner of police and the nodal cyber cell officer, seeking action against Zubair for “stalking of a minor girl on Twitter”.
Raipur Superintendent of Police Ajay Yadav said prima facie there were some comments that could be classified as harassment. “We have registered the FIR against the three Twitter handles but investigation work is still going on,” he added.
Zubair called the complaint “absolutely frivolous”. “I will be responding to it legally,” he told The Indian Express.
Alt News on Sunday released a statement in support of Zubair. It said that the first information report against him was an attempt to hound him through the “misuse of legal apparatus”.