The crime of Mohammed Zubair: He had tweeted a Hindi film poster in 2018, which suddenly hurt a Hanuman bhakt’s sentiment in 2022

News Network
June 28, 2022

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Believe it or not! The reason for journalist Mohammad Zubair’s sudden arrest is a four year old tweet, wherein he had posted a photo of  a Bollywood comedy film from 1983 directed by the legendary Hrishikesh Mukherjee.

In the evening of Monday, June 27, officers with the Intelligence Fusion and Strategic Operations unit of the Delhi police arrested Zubair, co-founder of the fact-checking website Alt News. He was booked under sections 153 (giving provocation with intent to cause riot) and 295 (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of the Indian Penal Code. 

The Bharatiya Janata Party leaders celebrated the arrest as a victory of truth. BJP general secretary C T Ravi went on to call him a ‘jihadi’ and accused him of inciting violence.

The police sources have confirmed that Zubair’s crime was the tweet dated March 24, 2018. The police also claimed that Zubair’s conduct during the investigation was found “questionable”, warranting his custodial interrogation to “unravel the conspiracy in this matter”.

The Twitter handle of a self proclaimed ‘Hanuman bhakt’, which complained to the police against Zubair, has tweeted only once since its apparent inception in October 2021 – the tweet targeting Zubair, published June 19, 2022.  

Ironically, the image of the hotel signboard in the tweet which prompted Delhi Police to arrest Zubair was also used as the lead image in an article in the Indian Express in March 2018, and has received no particular attention from those religiously outraged. 

In fact, the image is actually a screenshot from the 1983 movie – Kissi Se Na Kehna – duly cleared by the censor board at the time and shown innumerable times on television since then. 

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News Network
August 10,2022

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Patna/New Delhi: With Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (United) breaking ties with the BJP in Bihar, the National Democratic Alliance, or NDA, has suffered a small setback in Rajya Sabha.

Mr Kumar's Janata Dal (United), or JD(U), has five MPs including the Deputy Chairperson Harivansh in Rajya Sabha.

The NDA did not have majority in the upper house even when the JD(U) was part of it. Mr Kumar's JD(U) is the third party to leave the NDA in the last three years. Earlier, the Shiv Sena and the Shiromani Akal Dal quit the NDA. The Telugu Desam Party, or TDP, left before the general elections in 2019.

With JD(U) no longer with the NDA, the BJP-led national coalition will be more dependent on other neutral parties such as Odisha's Biju Janata Dal, or BJD, and Andhra Pradesh's YSR Congress Party, or YSRCP, to push crucial bills through the upper house.

The current strength of Rajya Sabha is 237. There are eight vacancies - four from Jammu and Kashmir, one from Tripura and three to be nominated. The majority mark is 119.

The NDA's current strength in Rajya Sabha is 115, which includes five nominated MPs and one independent.

After the JD(U) left the scene, the NDA's number has been reduced to 110, or nine short of the majority mark.

The government can nominate three more MPs before the winter session and BJP is likely to win the Tripura seat, whenever election takes place. Even then, the NDA's strength will be 114, which will still be short of the new halfway mark of 121.

The BJP will need the support of BJD and YSRCP - which has nine MPs each - on crucial bills.

In the recent presidential and vice presidential elections, however, the BJP got support of BJD, YSRC, TDP, Shiromani Akal Dal and Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party.

Here's how the numbers stack up for the NDA in Rajya Sabha: BJP 91, AIADMK 4, SDF 1, RPIA 1, AGP 1, PMK 1, MDMK 1, Tamil Manila 1, NPP 1, MNF 1, UPPL 1, IND 1 and nominated 5, whose total comes to 110.

Mr Kumar will take oath as Chief Minister of Bihar today at 2 pm. Rashtriya Janata Dal's Tejashwi Yadav will be the Chief Minister's deputy in the new "Grand Alliance".

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News Network
August 19,2022

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Ahmedabad, Aug 19: Some of the convicts in the Bilkis Bano case of the 2002 Gujarat riots are “Brahmins” with good ‘sanskaar’ or values and it is possible they may have been fixed due to their past family activities, a BJP MLA, who was a part of the state government panel that recommended remission to all the 11 men found guilty, said on Thursday.

C K Raulji, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA from Godhra, said he does not know whether the convicts, released after spending more than 15 years in jail, were involved in the crime.

On August 15, all the 11 convicts sentenced to life imprisonment in the 2002 case of Bilkis Bano’s gang rape and murder of her seven family members during the communal riots walked out of the Godhra sub-jail after the BJP government in Gujarat allowed their release under its remission policy.

“We took the decision on the basis of a Supreme Court order. We were asked to look at their (convicts’) behaviour and decide (on their early release),” Raulji, who was one of the members of the government-appointed committee that recommended granting of remission to the convicts, told a news portal.

“We asked the jailer and learnt that their behaviour was good in the prison…also (some of the convicts) are Brahmins. They have good ‘sanskaar’ (values),” said the ruling party legislator.

The Gujarat government’s decision has invited sharp criticism from the opposition parties who have said the move was against the Centre’s guidelines.

However, Raulji said the convicts may have been fixed.

“It is possible that they (the convicts) might have been fixed in the case due to their past family activities. When such riots take place it happens that those who are not involved are named. But I don’t know if they committed the crime, we decided (on remission) based on their behaviour,” he said.

Asked about the welcome accorded to the 11 men after their release from prison, he said they had not welcomed them.

The Gujarat government released the 11 convicts after the Supreme Court directed it to consider their plea for relief under the state’s 1992 remission policy.

A special CBI court in Mumbai had on January 21, 2008, sentenced to life imprisonment all the 11 accused in the case for murder of seven family members of Bilkis Bano, a riots survivor, and her gang rape. Their conviction was later upheld by Bombay High Court.

These convicts served more than 15 years in prison after which one of them approached the Supreme Court with a plea for his premature release.

The apex court had directed the Gujarat government to look into the issue of remission of his sentence as per its 1992 policy on the basis of the date of his conviction. Thereafter, the government formed a committee which took the decision to allow release of all the convicts.

On March 3, 2002, Bilkis Bano’s family was attacked by a mob at Randhikpur village in Limkheda taluka of Dahod district. Bilkis, who was five months pregnant at the time, was gang raped and seven members of her family were killed during the BJP backed riots. 

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News Network
August 8,2022

Mangaluru: Normalcy has returned to the coastal district of Dakshina Kannada which had witnessed communal tensions after three coldblooded murders last month. 

Deputy Commissioner Dr Rajendra KV has lifted the restrictions imposed on shops including liquor shops in the wake of peace prevailing in the district in the past few days.

In the wake of murders in the district, the DC had promulgated prohibitory orders under Section 144 in the district and restrictions were imposed on shops and establishments.

Initially, shops and establishments were directed to close between 6pm and 6am. Later, the district administration relaxed restrictions allowing shops and establishments to function till 9pm.

"We have been observing improvement of peace and public order in the district. Hence, following decisions are made. All the shops including liquor shops can function as usual as all the restrictions of shop closure are taken out. Meanwhile, the CrPC 144 will be continued till August 14 midnight prohibiting congregation of more than five people and display of weapons in the district," he said adding that the Commissioner of police will be issuing an order for city police commissionerate limits.

On movement of vehicles during night, the DC said there are no restrictions as such. However, he advised people to avoid unnecessary movements during the night.

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