Human Rights

Media, civil society and community decry Kazmi arrest

Arrest of Journalist Kazmi is new escalation of war against the Muslim community

New Delhi: Civil society, especially media and Muslim community has sprung up to protest against the arrest of senior Urdu journalist Mohammad Ahmad Kazmi who has a long good reputation. 

Delhi Union of Journalists held a press conference here on 9 March to protest the arrest of Kazmi at Delhi Press Club.

Speaking on this occasion Saeed Naqvi said that it may not be a coincidence that Mr. Kazmi’s arrest has been made immediately after the elections in UP. As far as he knows, Kazmi was unlikely to be a conspirator type of person. Naqvi said that Kazmi may have been framed at the instance of Israel-US combine which out to corner Iran and jeopardise Indian relations with Iran.  Naqvi said Kazmi may have a harsh critic of Israel as a commentator but that is not a crime. Kazmi had been a hero in the eyes of our media as he dared to report from Iraq and Syria when none was eager to go there. Kazmi was part of a new crop of brave journalists who criticized the establishment and had the courage to go against the wave. Kazmi was associated with the official Iranian News agency IRNA said Naqvi adding that being a correspondent of any foreign news agency is not anti-national activity and  not long ago the resident editor of The Statesman used to be a special correspondent of a London-based newspaper.

M.P. Muhammad Adeeb pacifying Kazmi's son, Shauzab at the DUJ press conference
M.P. Muhammad Adeeb pacifying Kazmi's son, Shauzab at the DUJ press conference

He further said that it is to be noted that Kazmi’s writeups were published in Urdu media which might have formed the opinion against the Congress. Therefore, it is a foregone conclusion that the government is victimizing him because the Congress Party has been totally rejected in the recently concluded Uttar Pradesh assembly elections.

Another senior journalist, Zafar Agha, said that Kazmi’s recent active participation in the protests in connection with the Shah-e Mardan Dargah which is situated near his residence might also have antagonized him in the eyes of the administration.

Sujata Madhok, President of the Delhi Union of Journalists, read out the memorandum to Delhi Police Commissioner condemning and expressing media fraternity’s dismay over the way Mr. Kazmi had been arrested. The memorandum demanded that Kazmi be given a fair and impartial investigation without torture and coercion. Shozeb Kazmi, the elder son of Mohammad Ahmad Kazmi, who was present at the press conference, sought the help of the media fraternity with tears in his eyes. When quizzed by mediapersons, Shauzab categorically denied that his father was involved in any kind of illegal or criminal activities. Shauzab said that the scooty, which was found at their residence, belongs to his uncle who currently resides at Meerut, his native place in UP. The scooty was lying unused there in the garage for the last two years. The conference ended abruptly when the presence of policemen in plainclothes was detected behind the stage.

Arrest of Journalist Kazmi is new escalation of war against the Muslim community

Coordination Committee for Indian Muslims (CCIM) held a press conference on 10 March at the Delhi Press Club to show solidarity with Journalist Kazmi.  Convenor of CCIM and President of Welfare Party of India, Mujtaba Farooq said that with this arrest starts a new trend to harass Muslims in the name of fighting terror. He stressed that this was clearly a politically motivated move to punish Muslims for not voting for the Congress in UP. Farooq was very critical of the government and the police for indulging in the ethnic profiling of the Muslim community. Farooq said that the recent arrest of Kazmi has been made under the influence of external pressures because in reality the police does not have any solid proof against him. He demanded that Kazmi be released on bail immediately and be allowed to defend himself without any pressure. Farooq expressed his apprehension that this arrest could be the beginning of a move to pressurize the Urdu media to which Kazmi was associated with.

Maulana Muhsin Taqwi speaking at the press conference
Maulana Muhsin Taqwi, President, National Council of Shia Ulama speaking at the press conference

Dr. Zafarul-Islam Khan, President of the All India Muslim Majlis-e Mashawarat (AIMMM) and a noted journalist in his own right, condemned the arrest and said that he was sure the police did not have any evidence against Kazmi. He said he knew him for the last 20 years as a forthright and cultured person. Dr. Khan said that he had been informed by Kazmi’s family members that the police had asked Mr. Kazmi to confess otherwise he would be handed over to the Mossad “who know how to extract confessions”. Dr. Khan condemned this psychological torture for extracting confessional statements as has been seen in umpteen previous cases. Dr. Khan said that all this was being done at the behest of right wing elements which have penetrated the system. Dr. Khan warned the Congress to check these elements if it did not want worse prospects in the 2014 general elections. 

Maulana Abdul Hameed Nomani, secretary of Jamiat-e Ulema-e Hind asked the court to order the rehabilitation of innocent victims and exemplary punishment for officers involved in implicating and torturing them. ANHAD too held a press conference on 10 March to protest against Kazmi’s arrest.

Statement by CCIM:
Dawat Nagar, Abul Fazal Enclave, Jamia Nagar, New Delhi-110025

New Delhi, 10 March 2012: The Indian Muslim community believes that the arrest of senior Urdu journalist Muhammad Ahmad Kazmi is a new escalation in the war against the community in the name of fighting terror. Acquittals of umpteen Muslim youths across the country after spending years in jails on trumped up charges has proved the communal nature of our police and security agencies. Senior Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan bluntly said on February 27, 2012 that police across the country were "communalised". He added that "It costs nothing for the police to fabricate evidence and file a false chargesheet against an innocent person. In virtually no case, and a vast majority of cases the court does not take the next step of ordering the criminal prosecution, immediate suspension, dismissal and prosecution of that police officer," he said adding that there is “a trend that police across the country systematically frame Muslims in terror investigations when they can't find the culprits. In such cases, they pick up anyone around whom a credible story could be spun."

We believe Journalist Muhammad Ahmad Kazmi is the latest victim of this communal mindset. His over two decades’ impeccable record as a journalist is an open book. Not only writing for national and international publications, he also worked for the Doordarshan and had a PIB press card for which security clearance is required.

We believe that there is no evidence till date against Journalist Kazmi who has been precisely framed at the behest of Israel’s notorious and criminal espionage agency Mossad which, according to press reports, provided his name to the Indian authorities which on their own had or have nothing against him. Now the Special Police is threatening him that unless he confessed, they will hand him over to Mossad “who know how to extract confessions” – which is a criminal threat as no Indian authority can hand over an Indian citizen to a foreign agency unless there is a court order for the same as well as an extradition treaty exists with the concerned foreign country.

We believe that the Indian security agencies have nothing to date to incriminate Journalist Kazmi and they are busy fabricating a case and have been giving off the record media briefings to build pressure on their victim.

It is our demand that the unheard of 20-days police remand should be cancelled and bail should be granted to Journalist Kazmi who has been cooperating with the Police in an exemplary way and there is no reason to believe that he will not do so in future.  We have written to the Hon’ble Union Home Minister, Hon’ble Lt. Governor Delhi, Hon’ble Chairman of the Press Council of India as well as to the Delhi Police Commissioner seeking their urgent intervention in this case of clear implication and fabrication of the which the Delhi Special Police has a long tainted record. We also express our astonishment that this case is not being handled by the National Investigation Agency which has been established especially to prove terror-related cases. We demand that the case must be urgently transferred to the NIA.

We will continue to agitate alongwith other civil society groups on this issue, which we believe, is a new escalation in the war against the community in the name of terror-fighting until justice is achieved. We will hold a dharna at Jantar Mantar on 26 March to press our demands.

Mujtaba Farooq, Chairman, Coordination Committee for Indian Muslims& President, Welfare Party of India
Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan, President, All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat  & Editor, The Milli Gazette
Muhammad Adeeb, M.P.
Muhammad Ahmad, Political Secretary, Jamaat-e Islami Hind
Maulana Muhsin Taqwi, President, National Council of Shia Ulama
Maulana Abdul Hameed Nomani, Secretary, Jamiat Ulama-e Hind
Maulana Abdul Wahab Khilji, President, Islahi Movement of India
Dr SQR Ilyas, General Secretary, Welfare Party of India& Editor, Afkar-e Milli
Maulana Ataur Rahman Qasmi, Director, Shah Waliullah Institute
Maulana Jalal Haidar Naqvi, Secretary, All India Shia Ulama Council
Dr Tasleem Rahmani, President, Muslim Political Council of India
Zaheer Zaidi, President, Shia Point
Syed Mansoor Agha, Senior Urdu journalist
Shuaib Shaikh, Secretary, Students Organisation of India
AK Kidwai, Secretary, Association for Protection of Civil Rights
Muhammad Ahmad Khan, Urdu Journalist

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