Users of social media platforms are digging up old tweets and screenshots of old Facebook posts by Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair, following the deletion of his FB account by him perhaps to save himself from police action based on contents that insult Hindus and demean Hinduism, which the Islamist fact-checker working for the communist-leaning website had posted. Zubair deleted his Facebook account after the netizens had started trolling him and also asking the police if BJP’s suspended spokeswoman Nupur Sharma had insulted Muslims by citing Mohammed’s paedophilia from the hadith, why they should not take action against the Alt News co-founder too, as he had time and again ridiculed Hindus, with or without basis.
Among his old tweets lampooning Hindu beliefs and mocking Hindu gods is a tweet dated 2018 where Zubair tweeted what appeared like a doctored image of a hotel to insinuate that ‘Honeymoon Hotel’ had changed to ‘Hanuman Hotel’ after 2014, the year when Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP to snatch power from the INC-led UPA.
In a tweet that very year, Zubair ridiculed Hindu scriptures by using a meme on Mahabharata’s Sanjay showing a “Facebook live video” of the Kurukshetra war to Dhritrashtra.
In what appears a backlash of Zubair’s act of posting an 85 s clip of Nupur Sharma‘s long statement in response to a Muslim panellist’s insinuations about Shiva on a television channel on 26 May, Twitter users like Hawk Eye (@thehawkeye) shared a collage of old tweets and posts by the Alt News‘s ‘fact checker’ that made fun of Hindu gods and beliefs.
In a tweet shared by the user above, Zubair not only mocks a Linga by likening it to the Vatican City but also says he created a caricature Facebook page along the lines of “Unofficial: Subramanian Swamy”, naming it “Unofficial Mohammed Zubair” in 2014. This, even as the nation burned, with Muslim rioters setting public and private properties on fire across different cities in the country.
A post on “Unofficial Mohammed Zubair” mocks Arun Govil, who played the role of SriRama in Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayan, to take a dig at the Hindu god. The post says that Isro must consult the actor because he would know more about the rocketry.
“Unofficial Mohammed Zubair” also posed an image of an aeroplane under the water with the caption, “Breaking: Underwater Pushpak Vimana used by Raavan 5000 years found in the Indian Ocean.”
Zubair took on Hindus who believe every feat of modern technology has an ancient example by posting a picture of a sculpture that appears like a manuscript but the Alt News ‘fact checker’ thought some Hindus could use the image to claim that was an ancient laptop. Puri Shankaracharya had claimed computers originated in the Vedic era while former Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb had said the internet existed in the era of the Mahabharata.
Zubair ridiculed Sanskrit as well. He had tweeted, “Sanskrit learning was essential for Computer literacy those days. Only Virat Hindus could operate computer(s) as lower castes were never allowed to learn Sanskrit. It’s shameful that Indians are more eager to learn foreign programming languages instead of Sanskrit, But NASA still uses Sanskrit as da most secure language.”
As his Hinduphobic posts and screenshots from the Facebook account that is now deleted went viral, Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair deleted his Facebook page.
Can deleting Facebook account help Mohammed Zubair escape law?
While Zubair can be prosecuted under Section 295A, which deals with deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs, can the law still apply after his Facebook page no longer exists? Yes, if the police act immediately. If he has requested the deletion today, Facebook will keep all the records for another fortnight and then remove the page, provided Zubair does not ask the company to let him use the page again before the deadline.
Section 295A of the IPC states that “whoever, with a deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of any class of 273 [citizens of India], 274 [by words, either spoken or written, or by signs or by visible representations or otherwise], insults or attempts to insult the religion or the religious beliefs of that class, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 4[three years], or with fine, or with both.”
Once the page is deleted permanently, Will Zubair of Alt News get away from the law if the police request Facebook to share data from his deleted account? According to a report in The Guardian, Facebook stores a user’s personal information like contact details and call logs alone, which, according to the company, is done to generate relevant content. Facebook says it stores address books so that it can find who among one’s family and friends is on Facebook.
It is not clear if the data can be retrieved from Facebook, even under pressure from law enforcement agencies, as the information is not ‘uploaded’ on or is relevant to Facebook.
Anyway, his controversial tweets remain undeleted.