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Alt News’ Mohammed Zubair’s identity triggers speculation if he’s a living Kasab or a convicted rapist. Fact-checking these viral claims

Viral claims on social media state that Mohammed Zubair could be a living Kasab or his close relative, a convicted rapist in the bloodcurdling Nirbhaya rape case of 2012, or a Rohingya Muslim who illegally entered India from Bangladesh.

Social media platforms are lately awash with several viral claims that raise questions about the identity of Mohammed Zubair, the Alt News co-founder under arrest for hurting religious sentiments, among other charges.

From Zubair being a close relative of the Mumbai 26/11 attacker Ajmal Kasab to him being the living Kasab to him being one of the rapists of the Nirbhaya case in Delhi, social media is replete with conspiracy theories that challenge the prevailing beliefs held across the political spectrum—where some hail him for his habit of carrying out slanted “fact-checks” to others who consider him a chronic Hindu-hater, especially in the light of his disparaging tweets against Hindu Gods and his dog-whistling against former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma.

The fact that Zubair has behaved inexplicably following his arrest—from donning a cap and a face mask to his quirk of covering his ears in front of cameras, along with viral claims that nothing is known about Mohammed Zubair before 2012—have only served to lend credence to the conspiracy theories that the Alt News co-founder has a shady past that he is jealously trying to guard.

Viral claims made against the Alt News co-founder amidst the secrecy surrounding his past

One of the claims massively going viral on the internet is that Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair is related to the lone terrorist captured during the Mumbai 26/11 attacks, Ajmal Kasab. The claims say ISI planted Zubair after Kasab’s hanging in 2012. It cites the lack of public information about Mohammed Zubair before 2012, along with his age, to bolster the claim that he is related to Kasab.

Yet another wild theory that is making rounds on social media is that Zubair is no one but Kasab, who somehow escaped with the help of ISI and the CIA and had undergone plastic surgery to avoid being captured.

Some conspiracy theorists are also citing his nebulous past and unavailability of his details before 2012 as grounds to claim that Mohammed Zubair is a Rohingya Muslim who had intruded India from Bangladesh during the influx of Rohingya Muslims in 2013 and got himself a bogus Aadhar card and other documents to live a secret life in Bengaluru.

Still another claim that is rapidly going viral on social media is that Mohammed Zubair might have been involved in the spine-chilling Nirbhaya rape case that shook the national capital and the country in December 2012. The proponents of this theory claim that since Zubair has no history prior to 2012 and the general air of obscurity surrounding his age point to the direction that he may have remained one of the elements of the “crime” that remained unaccounted for, a “juvenile” who needed protection from prying cameras, TV channels and newspapers that widely covered the Nirbharya rape case.

Mohammed Zubair
Source: Twitter

Do the viral claims against Mohammed Zubair hold water?

Even as social media is brimming with viral claims that link Zubair to Kasab, Nirbhaya rape and even Rohingya Muslims, some sympathisers of the Alt News co-founder took to Twitter to debunk the wild assertions made about Mohammed Zubair.

A Twitter user analysed the facial features of Mumbai 26/11 attacker Ajmal Kasab with Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair to declare that the claims of him being related to Kasab or him being a living Kasab are far-fetched and absurd.

The user said no comparison was ever made between Zubair and Kasab until his arrest earlier this year for hurting the religious sentiments of Hindus with his offensive tweets against Hindu Gods and Goddesses. Comparing the publicly available pictures of Ajmal Kasab and Mohammed Zubair, the Twitter user said the latter’s earlobes are larger than that of the Mumbai 26/11 attacker’s, and therefore, Zubair is unlikely to be a living Kasab.

Making a case that Zubair and Kasab may have been two distinct persons, the Twitter user highlighted Kasab’s eyebrows, which he said were thick, while Zubair had a receding and thin eyebrow line.

The social media user further added that Kasab was a trained terrorist, whereas Zubair came from a corporate background and had no prior experience in militant training. However, the reasoning is implausible since to declare that Zubair had no training in terrorism, one would need to know about his entire life, including what he did before 2012, which continues to remain under the shroud of secrecy.

The user also shared a picture of Mohammed Zubair, allegedly from 2010, to claim that the Alt News co-founder was on a trip to Paris when Ajmal Kasab was languishing in jail. However, OpIndia cannot independently verify if the picture is from Paris or was it taken in 2010.

Besides, a report published in The Frustrated Indian (TFI) makes it unlikely that Zubair was either a cousin of Kasab, a living Kasab, a Nirbhaya rapist or a Rohingya Muslim who crossed over from Bangladesh in 2013-2014. The report said Mohammed Zubair was a staunch Kejriwal supporter when India Against Corruption (IAC) movement was taking root. He was a routine fixture on the TFI Facebook comments section, always having a comment or two to reply to the posts, said the report. The TFI also reportedly awarded Zubair with the comments award for his comments on their Facebook posts, something he could not have done if he were Kasab as Kasab was alleged to have access only to biryani and not broadband in jail, and was counting his last days in 2012.

Taken together, the above discrepancies underscore how Mohammed Zubair, though there is still a cloud of obscurity about what he used to do before 2012, is unlikely to be Kasab, his cousin, a Nirbhaya rapist, or a Rohingya Muslim who had illegally migrated to India.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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Amit Kelkar
Amit Kelkar
a Pune based IT professional with keen interest in politics

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