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Lawyer files complaint against Alt News co-founder Md Zubair for ‘spreading misinformation and inciting communal unrest’ over the Gujarat University incident

Citing the legal Grounds for the Complaint, Advocate Shah writes, “Mr. Zubair, who is followed by 1 Million people on X and has enough influence to incite communal unrest, his above-mentioned act falls under various sections of the IPC and IT Act, for which I seek legal action.” 

On Sunday (17th March), advocate Chandni Shah wrote a complaint letter to the Delhi Police Commissioner seeking legal action against Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair “for spreading misinformation and inciting communal unrest”. Shah has alleged that Zubair attempted to incite communal unrest by deliberate dissemination of misinformation and incomplete facts concerning the Gujarat University clash over namaz in a public place.

Taking to X, advocate Shah shared the complaint letter e-mailed to the Delhi Police Commissioner urging the Police to file an FIR under various sections including 295A in connection with the Namaz row incident in Gujarat University involving foreign students. 

She tweeted, “Filed a complaint with @CPDelhi, @DelhiPolice against Md. Zubair @zoo_bear for attempt to incite communal unrest by deliberate dissemination of misinformation and incomplete facts. At such times when the country is preparing for the Loksabha Elections and is already fighting with misinformation being spread on CAA, we cannot afford another misinformation that has the potential to create communal unrest in any part or whole of the country. #ArrestZubair” 

Content of the complaint letter

In the four-page complaint letter to Delhi CP, the lawyer has sought an “urgent complaint against Mr. Mohammed Zubair for spreading misinformation and inciting communal unrest.”

Advocate Chandni Shah states, “I…hereby lodge a formal complaint against Mr. Mohammed Zubair (@Zoo_bear on “X”) who claims to be an Independent Fact Checker and runs a portal called ALT NEWS, for the deliberate dissemination of misinformation through social media that could potentially incite communal unrest and affect the public order, especially with the impending Lok Sabha Elections.” 

Explaining the context of her complaint, Shah refers to Zubair’s 17th March 2024 post on X in which he wrote – 

“A Student from Afghanistan while speaking to a journalist from @NewsCapitalGJ says, ‘15 Muslim students were praying Namaz inside the Hostal premise in A-Block. Three persons came and asked them not to offer Namaz. After completing their prayers, When the students asked what’s their problem with Namaz, The goons asked them to chant religious slogans and left, After sometime, They came back with at least 200-250 people, pelted stones at them, they were carrying knife and sticks, They pelted stones, broke our bikes, laptops, phones, AC, sound system etc.. Many students are injured but 5-6 students are admitted in hospital, 2 from Africa, 1 from Bangladesh, 1 from Srilanka, 1 from Uzbekistan and 1 from Afghanistan’. When asked if they complained to police, The student responds, ‘No we did not, The police was already here, Thry allowed the goons to go, They did not stop them, Whats the use of complaining, We are not safe here, We request Gujarat University to shift us to a safe place. #Gujarat University. (sic)”

The complaint letter stated that Zubair’s post incorrectly depicted the incident involving a group of students at Gujarat University. This tweet is not only inaccurate but also seemingly intended to provoke communal disharmony, it alleged.

Advocate Shah, as per the complaint letter, has attached video evidence that clearly contradicts the narrative presented by Mr. Zubair. It states that the videos showcase the actual series of events without any form of bias or incitement. 

“The video clearly shows that one of the student who was offering Namaz, stood up and committed an act of violence by slapping the student who can be seen asking the security/warden if it was the right place to offer Namaz. The incidents that followed was the reciprocation of this act of violence initiated by one of the students offering Namaaz. But Mr. Zubair, intentionally hid this information to paint this incident with a communal color,” the complaint letter reads. 

Citing the legal Grounds for the Complaint, Advocate Shah writes, “Mr. Zubair, who is followed by 1 Million people on X and has enough influence to incite communal unrest, his above-mentioned act falls under various sections of the IPC and IT Act, for which I seek legal action.” 

The complainant has sought legal action against Alt News’ Zubair under IPC Sections 

153A, 295A, 504, 505 and Section 66A of the IT Act. 

Through her complaint letter against Zubair, advocate Shah has urged the Delhi Police to –

1. Conduct an expedited investigation into this matter.

2. Compel a retraction and public apology from Mr. Mohammed Zubair.

3. Initiate legal proceedings in accordance with the aforementioned sections of the IPC and IT Act.

It notes that the prompt and resolute handling of the complaint will not only serve justice but will also prevent the erosion of communal harmony and public trust.

The Gujarat University Namaz Row incident 

On Saturday (16th March), a confrontation erupted between foreign and local students at the Gujarat University hostel, resulting in damages to laptops, AC units, and other items in room number 23 of the ‘A’ block, as well as to vehicles parked outside. The incident occurred around 10 PM. A police report was filed today at 12:45 AM, based on the complaint filed by the security personnel responsible for the Gujarat University hostel.

Approximately 300 foreign students, hailing from countries such as Afghanistan, Africa, Sri Lanka, and others, reside in the Gujarat University hostel. Among them, 75 are accommodated in the ‘A’ block. On 16th March, some of these students were offering Namaz in an open area in the hostel ground. A group of around 25 Hindu youths questioned their choice of location, stating that the ground was a public place and that it was neither a mosque nor a madrasa. In response to this, one Afghan student identified as Harun Afghani rushed forward and slapped a Hindu youth. This altercation quickly escalated into a clash.

Stones were pelted and rooms were vandalised during the clashes, resulting in damages to items and injury to some students.

Investigations have revealed that recently, a wall and stage were unlawfully utilised as an open mosque by foreign students. Arabic script reading ‘Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim’ (In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful) was written on the wall, where Namaz was performed by foreign students in groups five times a day.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, the external affairs ministry said that the government of Gujarat has initiated strict action against the perpetrators who engaged in an incident of violence at Gujarat University in Ahmedabad on Saturday. So far, Police have reportedly booked around 20 people and arrested 2 persons in this case. 

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