Journalist Mohammad Juber, co-founder of the news fact-checking organization ‘Alt News’, was finally granted bail. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court of India granted him interim bail in all cases.
Zuber was arrested by the Delhi Police on June 27 for tweeting a scene from a very old Hindi movie. Since then six more FIRs were filed against him in different cities of Uttar Pradesh. He was granted bail in the Delhi case but was kept in jail in the Uttar Pradesh cases. The Supreme Court had earlier termed this trend as a ‘vicious cycle’.
But not that tweet, but another tweet of his in 2018 which was filed by the police as a crime. The tweet was a screen shot from Hrishikesh Mukhopadhyay’s popular Hindi movie Kisise Na Kaehna, made and released in 1983. It shows that the signboard of a hotel named ‘Honeymoon Hotel’ has been repainted as ‘Hanuman Hotel’. In a tweet across the picture, Zubeer wrote, ‘Honeymoon Hotel before 2014, Hanuman Hotel after 2014.’ Delhi Police alleged that through that tweet, he deliberately hurt religious sentiments and incited riots. However, the fact is, in the last four years, no tension has arisen anywhere in the country because of that tweet.
Although he got bail from the Supreme Court in the Delhi case, Zuber had to stay in jail as the lower courts did not grant him bail in the cases filed in different cities of Uttar Pradesh.
The judge said, “Mohammed Juber should be held accountable to the law if he writes anything offensive.” But he will not write or say anything – bail cannot be given on this condition.’ Justice Chandruchud said to Garima Prasad, “All the evidence is in front of the public.”