IIOJK politicians condemn Alt News co-founder Zubair’s arrest by BJP regime

Srinagar, June 29 (KMS): In Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir, regional politicians including Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti and National Conference (NC) Vice President Omar Abdullah have strongly criticized the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Narendra Modi government for arresting journalist Mohammad Zubair and demanded his immediate release.

According to Kashmir Media Service, Mohammad Zubair, fact-checking website Alt News co-founder, was arrested by the Delhi Police on Monday for allegedly hurting religious sentiments through one of his tweets posted in 2018. The arrest came days after Zubair highlighted a video clip of BJP national spokesperson Nupur Sharma in which she is shown making derogatory remarks against holy Prophet (PBUH) during a TV debate.

PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti while linking Zubair’s arrest to the situation in IIOJK, said that the same model was now being enforced all over India. “Criminalising the truth was initiated right after illegal abrogation of Article 370 in J&K and the same model is now being enforced all over India,” she tweeted. “It started with Kashmir after 2019 when journalists were booked and arrested under the UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act) and Public Safety Act. The same is being applied outside Jammu and Kashmir. Now, Zubair has been arrested for reporting facts. These are black days of Indian democracy,” she added.

Mehbooba Mufti said it was strange that Zubair’s arrest had come at a time when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was attending the G-7 meeting and signed a joint document to protect freedom of expression. She added that Zubair had brought truth to the people but today he is being hounded for posting a scene from a Bollywood movie.

NC Vice President Omar Abdullah also took a swipe at the decision to arrest Zubair. Sharing the tweet of Zubair that led to his arrest and an anti-Islam tweet of BJP’s Naveen Kumar Jindal on Twitter, he said, “Only one of these tweets will get you arrested for hurting religious sentiments and no prizes for guessing which one. There isn’t even the pretence of equality under law any longer”.

Communist Party of India Marxist IIOJK chapter leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, in a statement said it was very unfortunate that journalists like Zubair, who highlight the truth and hold mirror to the Modi led Indian government, were being witch-hunted and booked under flimsy charges while the hate-mongers were roaming freely. He added the Modi-led BJP regime was using strongarm tactics to muzzle the voice of those who expose its false propaganda and hate speech.

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