Ayush Yoga RTI Police investigation: What has irked them most in my story...

During interrogation at Kotla Mubarakpur Police Station on 15-16 March, 2016, I was repeatedly asked about a single line from my article published in The Milli Gazette: “Abki Baar Muslims pe vaar – shukriya Modi Sarkar”. This line is seen as the sole reason to slap on me an FIR under various IPC sections including 153A, whose purpose, in simple common man’s language, is to punish persons who indulge in wanton vilification or attacks upon religion or attempt to disturb communal harmony. A political article published in a newspaper based on facts has been misconstrued as being part of some political agenda.

What’s wrong if my newspaper raises issues of minorities. It’s not something which you may call a hidden agenda when The Milli Gazette openly claims to be the Indian Muslims’ leading English newspaper. Raising issues is our journalistic mandate and pitching hard-hitting, deep-digging investigative political reporting is a tool to awaken the masses. And that’s what I have done and will proudly continue to do in future, as well. Information could be sourced from anywhere. In our present case, it has exposed the ‘unwritten’ Yoga recruitment policy in India. My article, which claims that our system on purpose excludes a certain part of our citizens, has exposed a little bit of the secret policies of the powers that be and loosened the biased bond a little bit.

The focus of the entire investigation and interrogation with me at the police station during these past two days has been the entire viewable area including the false assumption of the enforcement agencies, including Intelligence Bureau, that the entire job of passing out information to me was done by some source or that it’s an insider leak from the Ayush Ministry.

All I’m trying to say is: please look at the message and see the reality. If the reported facts are incorrect, please provide the correct facts naming the minority members who were selected so far for the concerned job. You can’t deny the fact that there is a calculated policy to deny jobs to a certain section of our population. My entire fight has been and is against self-manifested gurus and babas who are dominating Yoga in India.

The source could be any, an interested party or a disgruntled candidate who failed to get recruited, or a passionate whistle blower. Information may be sourced from anywhere, be it through RTI or via an insider’s leak. It hardly matters who told the TRUTH. Globally, all journalists adopt the same path to access information. What matters in the end is: whether it is TRUTH or not.

Please access Yoga related recruitment in the past and you will find the same pathetic situation: no Muslim hiring. As a journalist and human rights activist, I find this highly discriminatory and harmful to the country if the system follows a biased recruitment policy.

Token reward for minorities in future

As from my so-called “source,” I have come to know that bosses in the Ayush ministry have decided that in future ‘minority candidates’ would now be deliberately included in Yoga-related recruitment as part of a political strategy to send out a message far and wide. All I can say now is: if this thought has really percolated deep down the system, I would be the first to appreciate this welcome move.

The job of a journalist is to make bridges to connect people with others and improve the situation in society. If my small effort has made an awakening call, it only reflects the power of media which today touches all aspects of our lives, forms our personality and enriches our lives in myriad ways.

Why I’m writing continuously instead of catching up on my sleep after long hours of grilling at the hands of police, IB and Ayush officials? Because I want the message to reach far and wide. A bunch of papers marked as “FIR” can’t deceive the honorable courts of this country. I’m fighting with conviction and I stand by the larger issue that my article on no-Muslim-hiring policy of the Ayush Ministry is factually correct.

Future Ahead

Slapping an FIR by the Ayush Ministry is an attempt to paint me black and prove me wrong. The larger issue remains: why Muslims are not hired, why only some names are dominating Yoga? I am ready for judicial custody and believe that it will only strengthen my conviction that I have raised an important issue as a journalist.

Well-coordinated and synchronized attempts are required to make bridges between different communities and it’s the only solution to safeguard the beauty of our inclusive democracy. Being a journalist, I’m just doing my job, within my humanitarian limits. You may agree or disagree -- its not going to affect my way of thinking or the harsh realities of life in our country. All I want from the BJP sarkar is: please work on your slogan with conviction: “Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas”.

To end this short note before rushing again to the police station, I would like to say, writing is my profession and I’m not apprehensive if one more case is slapped against me because this is the reason why I’m still living and writing.

A last word before closing this note: a campaign of vilification is on against me in some parts of the media about a certain case slapped against me by Delhi Police. The fact is that I had done a sting in 2009 on Delhi Police and subsequently submitted the CDs to the Delhi Police chief on 24 Sept. 2009. Just over a month later, in November 2009, Delhi Police slapped against me a fabricated case which is still under trial and no conviction has been made. This proof convinced Tehelka to offer me a job in 2010.

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