The Delhi Police’s Cyber Cell has registered an FIR against fact-check website AltNews cofounder Mohammed Zubair for allegedly threatening and torturing a girl child through Twitter, officials said on Sunday.
Zubair refuted the allegation as an absolutely frivolous complaint, and AltNews backed him, saying his work “hurts those who have weaponised misinformation to subvert the Indian democracy”.
The FIR was registered under provisions of the Information Technology Act and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) on a complaint received from the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), a senior police officer said.
The NCPCR complaint refers to the photo of a girl and her grandfather shared by Zubair on Twitter during an online spat with the minor’s father.
Though the girl’s face was blurred out in the photo, she said she could get identified as her grandfather’s face was recognisable.
The NCPCR said it took cognisance of the complaint received under section 13 (1)) and (k) of CPCR Act, 2005, as a minor girl’s picture is seen to be circulated and posted by various Twitter handles with indecent and disgraceful remarks/comments, which seems to be a cognisable offence and requires immediate registration of an FIR.
“You look into the matter and take prompt action in respect to the Twitter handle and posts harassing, threatening and stalking the minor girl. Further, you were also requested to ensure safety of girl child and initiate appropriate action against the alleged perpetrators,” NCPCR chief Priyank Kanoongo said in his letter to the Delhi police.
Kanoongo said he is seeking action under POCSO/relevant acts against “online threats and repeated incident of stalking of a minor girl on Twitter by Zubair”.
“As per the complaint, Mohammed Zubair bearing Twitter handle zoo_bear online harassing, threatening and stalking a minor girl,” he said.
He has also written to Twitter India to take action into the matter.
Zubair responded by saying, “This is an absolutely frivolous complaint. I will be responding to it legally.
AltNews in a statement said “An attempt is being made to hound co-founder of AltNews, Mohammed Zubair (@zoo_bear) through misuse of legal apparatus. Alt News stands by Mohammed Zubair. Zubair has been in the forefront of fighting fake narratives, and his work hurts those who have weaponised misinformation to subvert the Indian democracy.” On Saturday, the NCPCR chief had tweeted, “According to the ATR received in @NCPCR_ ,an FIR has been lodged against the alleged persons for threatening and torturing a girl child on @Twitter. As per the request made by @TwitterIndia an additional time of 10 days has been provided to them to provide relevant information.”
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)