Press Statements

Frame up after Frame up: In Defence of K.K. Shahina

The police slapping cases on Shahina is clearly intimidating journalists who refuse to churn out police press releases as investigative reportage.

New Delhi (29 November 2010): That security agencies were wary of even exploring the Hindutva angle in blasts across the countries—even in face of hard evidence—is now an established fact. Islam and terrorism were almost natural corollaries. Few in the media questioned the round up and mass detention of Muslim youth that followed after each blast. Indeed, police theories were peddled as the truth, and detention and torture passed for investigation. Revelations earlier this year that Hindutva groups may have been behind Malegaon, Mecca Masjid and Ajmer and Samjhauta blasts should embarrass many ‘investigative reporters’. In all of these cases, large sections of the media had chosen simply to repeat verbatim the security agencies’ claims about the involvement of HUJI, Let or SIMI.

There were on the other hand, at least some journalists who refused to surrender their critical faculties to the tidal wave of patriotic hysteria that rose after each blast. K.K. Shahina is the foremost among them. In her latest expose in Tehelka, Shahina shows how the case against Abdul Nasar Madani, head of the People’s Democratic Front (PDP), accused in 2008 Bengaluru blasts, was fragile and based on non-existent and false testimonies. Shahina traveled through Kumbur, Hosathotta and Igoor (in Karnataka) to speak to witnesses and villagers around Lakkeri estate where the alleged meeting to hatch the Bengaluru blasts conspiracy was held. Puncturing the police allegations, the villagers, many of them including BJP workers dismissed the presence of Madani in the area as a mere rumour. While on her way to meet the witnesses, Shahina and her colleagues were tailed by the police and received calls from the circle inspector, who enquired if Shahina was a terrorist! And now, the Karnataka Police has slapped two cases under IP 506 for intimidating witnesses in the Bengaluru blast case against Shahina and four others. Far from intimidating witnesses, this is a clear case of intimidating journalists who refuse to churn out police press releases as investigative reportage.

Fabrication of testimonies and planting of evidence—even kilos of RDX—is routine business for many in the security agencies: Tariq Ahmed Batloo was picked up at the Delhi airport and claimed by the Delhi police to have been arrested from his hideout in Kashmir (2008); the arrest of five members of Manitha Neethi Pasarai (MNP) in 2007 on charges of conspiring to bomb hospitals in Coimbatore was exposed by the Tamil Nadu SIT to be a complete fabrication by the police; Md. Qamar and Irshad Ali, police informers, were declared terrorists of Al-Badr group when their cooperation was found wanting by the Delhi Police Special Cell (2005-6)….the list is sadly too long.  K.K. Shahina was merely fulfilling her journalistic duty of investigating the police claims of Madani’s complicity in the Bengaluru blasts, given especially the inglorious history of frame-ups. 

JTSA stands in solidarity with K.K. Shahina and demands that cases against her be dropped immediately. 
Sd/-
Manisha Sethi, Ahmed Sohaib, Adil Mehdi, Sanghamitra Misra, Ghazi Shahnawaz, Arshad Alam and others….
 
For Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association
 
www.teacherssolidarity.org

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