X users stand up for Alt News founder Zubair as police book him in UP school slap incident

Users are demanding to know why Mohammed Zubair is being penalised for sharing a video that many others also shared, using the hashtag #IStandWithZubair

Mohammed Zubair, co-founder of Alt News, took down the video immediately following an NCPCR directive (photo: zoo_bear/Twitter)
Mohammed Zubair, co-founder of Alt News, took down the video immediately following an NCPCR directive (photo: zoo_bear/Twitter)

NH Digital

Users on micro blogging site X (formerly Twitter) are sharing the hashtag #IStandWithZubair in support of Alt News fact checker Mohammed Zubair on Monday, 28 August, right after Uttar Pradesh Police charged him with revealing the identity of a seven-year-old Muslim boy being slapped by his classmates on the orders of their teacher in a Muzaffarnagar village.

Numerous X users are showing their solidarity with Zubair on the issue. User @AzyConTroll (Azy) has tweeted an image of Zubair saying that the police FIR is a result of bias against the fact checker, because hundreds of others also shared the video on the social media platform on Friday, 25 August.

Azy's tweet reads, "FIR on Zubair is a targeted attack really. Hundreds of anchors and news channels had shared that video. In fact, @zoo_bear deleted it the moment NCPCR pointed it out. Moreover, sharing kids pictures is not a crime unless they are ‘victims’ and if those kids are indeed the victims, why is Tripta Tyagi roaming free? Absolute travesty of justice !!"

User @Cow_Momma tweeted, "If Zubair committed a crime by disclosing identity of the child (as the FIR says), the Police agree that the child is a victim of crime. Then what action have the Police taken against the actual criminal Tripta Tyagi?"

Tripta Tyagi is the accused teacher who was seen in the viral video exhorting the child's classmates to slap him. In fact, the hashtag #ArrestTriptaTyagi has been trending periodically on X since the video of the incident went viral.

The National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) on 25 August, warned social media users against sharing the video or revealing the identity of the boy and his classmates, with NCPCR chairperson Priyanka Kaanoongo urging users to "not become part of the crime by revealing identity of the children”.

User @afficasm (Fatima Khan) tweeted, "Things that Happens only in India: Mohammad Zubair was the target of a FIR after posting a video showing a teacher humilating a Muslim student. Until now, Tripta Tyagi has not been the charged of any legal action. But Zubair is charged of POCSO. #IStandWithZubair."

The political editor of Caravan magazine, @HartoshSinghBal also tweeted in support of Zubair, citing an Indian Express article and wrote, "Now a call for justice is a crime, but only if the call comes from someone named Zubair. This is the truth of our upside world, modi is on the moon and country is lurking in a hell of its making."

Zubair told Scroll.in on Monday, 28 August, that authorities are targeting him, and reportedly remarked that while several others too shared the video, only he has been named in the FIR, though the police have not contacted him yet.

Zubair has been booked under Section 74 of the Juvenile Justice Act, which involves disclosing the identity of a minor, and the FIR has been lodged in the name of a person called Vishnudatt. Those found guilty of violating the provisions of the act may be imprisoned for up to six months and face a penalty of up to Rs. 6 lakh.

Another twitter handle @gokulchan (Lt Cdr Gokul (R)) questioned the authority of lodging an FIR against Zubair and tweeted, "Did Zubair create the video? NO Did he tamper with the video? NO Did he edit it with malicious intent? NO Was he the first to share that video? NO He posted a video as it is that was already available in SM platforms. Then why FIR against @zoo_bear?

An Outlook report states that on Saturday, 26 August, several users ranging from activists and journalists to politicians complained that their tweets related to the slapping incident were being withheld on the micro blogging site. Users posted screenshots of the notification that read, "Your tweet has been withheld in India in response to a legal demand”.

Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate pointed out that on 25 August, the Indian government took swift action by sending directives to X for the removal of the video, where the faces of both the child being slapped, as well as those slapping him, were clearly visible. Once the tweets have been taken down, the police has filed an FIR against Zubair.

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