Arrest of Kazmi – questions galore

Well-known and respected senior Urdu journalist Muhammad Ahmad Kazmi was kidnapped by Special Police plainclothes at 11.30 am on 6 March. Later he was shown as “arrested” at 8.30 pm same day on charges of helping the terrorist who planted a bomb in the car of an Israeli diplomat on 13 Feb. Next day he was produced in Patiala court where an unheard of 20 day police remand was granted although the police failed to put across any specific charge against him on the plea that the actual terrorist would flee if these details are divulged. Later media reports gave two conflicting versions, both ascribed to unknown police sources that the terrorist had escaped to a Southeast Asia [Malaysia] country and that he was already in Tehran. Media reports also said that the arrest was made because the Israelis provided two names to the Indian police and Kazmi’s was one of them, which clearly means that it was an Israeli plan and the Indian police had no real proof to rely on. In detention, this same police is now pressurising Kazmi to confess and if he does not he will be handed over to the Mossad “who know how to extract confessions”. Kazmi is known for his outspoken views condemning Israeli policies. He has denied any role or knowledge in the terror plot some believe may be a false flag operation to sour Indo-Iran relations.
By S. Aziz Haider
Editor, Life Watch
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The arrest of Mohammad Ahmad Kazmi in the Israeli embassy car bomb blast case is being shown by media as just another arrest of a terror-planner. But those who know Kazmi are aware that he is a journalist of long standing. He was running a news agency for more than a decade and was an employee of India Islamic Cultural Centre, as media advisor. As an Urdu journalist, he was most vocal in speaking against Israeli and American policies in the Middle East, particularly in relation to Iran affairs. That he was associated with IRNA (Iranian news agency) was also, till yesterday, a feather in his cap.

Immediately after the blast, he was on IBN-7’s elite panel, saying openly that Iran could have no role in the blasts as this was not in its favour. Every now and then, his articles appeared in leading Urdu newspapers. To whatever extent I know him, he was not a person who could have become involved in a terror attack. Beyond the fact that he was a senior journalist and a man well-connected with the elite circles of Muslims in North India, he seemed to be a straight-forward, peace-loving man with no evil intentions against anybody.

His arrest in this case raises a few questions. As said, he was a well-connected Muslim. Several TV channels may not be talking about his identity that he was a journalist -- how can they hide this beyond a point. The first impression that comes to mind is that he has been targeted for writing against the US and Israeli policies in the Middle East. Are we seeing the days where we won’t be allowed to write what we see as the true picture? If there are Indians favouring the US stance on so many policies in India, why can’t there be a few who do not favour the American and Israeli policies? This is a very serious question as till date we took pride that India is a free country where everyone enjoys the right of free speech.

Fact remains that India’s oil relations with Iran are responsible for all this. Focus and politics has shifted to India as the US and Israel are hell-bent to discontinue this vital relationship, despite the fact that the Saudi oil that India would have to rely on, if it stops taking Iranian oil, is extremely impure, rich in sulphur and requires nearly double refining cost, which will surely be passed on to the consumers. Moreover, a good amount of rice and other commodities are exported from India to Iran. More than this, Iran is an age-old ally. My real worries are two: despite all the claims that India is about to become a superpower, we seem to be so fragile that one or two foreign countries can blackmail us in changing our foreign policy? Secondly, I was also proud of the fact that India is a country where one can express his views openly. It is not a Third World country or even like some European countries where you cannot say what you feel like saying. From the targeting of Kazmi, a very wrong signal is going out. Are we not free to say what our conscience demands us to say?

Lately, we have seen unfurling of a full-fledged propaganda exercise in India through the hands of those having loyalty to the US and Israel. A self-proclaimed journalist was roaming around asking questions like who are the journalists who are being paid to do articles in Iran’s favour. This journalist is reported to have met several people in Lucknow and Delhi with the same question. The question is: whether any media-house does such a story when it itself doesn’t have vested interests? Even if this is true, how will you prove this? Moreover, why only stories in relation to Iran matter leaving aside countries which have a decided propaganda edge?  

I don’t think Kazmi was writing on Iran because he was being paid. This is a mere propaganda exercise to stop a few people who still continue to write on issues like those of Palestine or Iran. Moreover, why has no journalist got up to do a story on how many people are being paid by the US and Israel in this country? The fact that a majority of publications are doing stories/articles suiting the US/Israeli interests and several people were quick enough to pass the blame on to Iran the moment the blast on the Israeli car occurred in India, it is the need of the hour that Indian Government should make public the list of all newspapers/TV channels which have Israeli and US covert and overt stakes so that people should know which channels to watch and which not to watch.

A vast majority of Muslims in India and across the world are against the US and Israeli policies and know for sure that their policies are only for their vested interests even if they lead to the killing of hundreds of thousands of innocent people. India and Indians, right from the time of Krishna and Rama, have stood by the side of truth and justice. Most Indians know it fully well that the American and Israeli policies are not based on moral grounds but they keep silent as they feel they are not involved. Likewise, some Muslims too feel that they are not involved when one or the other is caught. It is very likely that Kazmi will come out free from courts after a few months or years. But by then, the propaganda machinery of Israel and the US would have achieved its purpose. With a few more cases like this, the robust Israeli propaganda machinery would be able to build an atmosphere that even educated and cultured Shia Muslims are involved in terrorism. Why is this atmosphere being created now? Only because the new targets are Iran, Lebanon and Syria? Iran for being majority Shia, Lebanon for having Hizbullah and Syria for being pro-Iran.

All Shia and most Sunnis for that matter (other than those with Talibani mentality) believe that all kind of terrorism is against Islam. The Shia in particular are known to shed tears and beat their chests for the terrorism inflicted on their Imams who silently chose death and even when they had a choice never performed an act that was against peaceful co-existence, justice for all humanity and truth.

To me, as a Muslim, India is dearer than Iran or any other country in the world. To me, all fight has to be with the vagaries of one’s own self and we are nobody to kill or harm others or even try to change their belief. Yes, we do feel the pain and have affinity with the persecuted Muslims in the Muslim World but they are just the same as India reacting to the Indian children being held up in Norway or an Indian becoming the Prime Minister of a country like Fiji or Mauritius. Moreover, there are several places of religious importance to Muslims in the Arab countries, which becomes one reason why Muslims are more than willing to visit those countries. But if any Indian Muslim works against the interests of our mother country, the most severe punishment should be reserved for him. But the past has shown that innumerable people have been caught by police, charges framed against them and the synchronous black propaganda left a lasting impression in the hearts and minds of the majority community that Muslims are terrorists, though such persons are exonerated and released by courts after a few years. It is time for the saner sections of the Indian community, irrespective of their caste, creed or religion, to speak out that certain laws should be framed in such serious cases:
  • Police should be made responsible for the people they arrest.
  • We should decide how our laws should be. Are we ready to have a law where in the name of catching the culprits, a few innocents too get caught and it doesn’t matter or are we willing to make a law where not even a single innocent person is falsely implicated?
  • Are we willing to get into a situation where a police inspector or a thana incharge arrests a person in the name of terrorism on trumped up charges or mere suspicion, ruins his life and that of his family by keeping him in prison for years until the courts quash the case and he is deprived of all his savings hiring lawyers and his family ruined. And when he is released by the court, the media would feel happy that there is still justice in this country and the same thana incharge would be busy catching somebody else under another excuse.

The question is: why should the Indian police be working for Israel and US interests? In answer, there are a few questions that come to mind:

  • The Wikileaks controversy seems to have been forgotten by the media which revealed to what extent the US embassy controls Indian external affairs and political agenda. It showed how several politicians are working for US interests at the cost of their own country’s interest.  It also showed to what extent we are prone to propaganda.
  • As regards to propaganda, the UK only recently got to know to what extent certain people set the agenda of their country. By opening the media to foreign invasion, India too has opened the floodgates to become a slave of these powers in the future.
  • Why did Mossad chief in India a few days before the blast on a hush-hush visit? Will Indian officials release the purpose of his visit? Why was he here? Why this visit was kept secret by Indian authorities? Naturally, the Indian IB, CBI or RAW chiefs cannot visit any country secretly without the consent of that country’s government and for valid reasons.
  • What will Iran gain by planning such activities in a friendly country like India? Also, we need to discuss what they would loose if they loose India’s goodwill at this juncture.
  • India has silently left behind the cause the Palestine and now is on the verge of leaving an old affiliate Iran? Support for Palestine was because some people in our country wanted to be on the side of truth and justice, as we were to gain nothing out of supporting an impoverished country like Palestine. Abandoning the Palestine cause was because some other people have decided that truth and justice no longer matter where self-interest is involved. We will have to decide which of the two policies we wish to follow.
  • Why has the Indian Government agreed to training of our police by Israeli forces? Does this not show that certain people in India are now hell-bent on being on the side of Israel, unmindful of whether its hands are stained with the blood of hundreds of thousands of innocent humans? We should remember that the sama/dama was the policy adopted by Kautilya to safeguard the ruler of the time. It was never the policy of Rama, Krishna, Buddha or any other messenger from God, like Jesus, Moses or Muhammad, who offered many sacrifices for being on the side of truth.
  • Delhi police has been extremely angry against Bahadur Naqvi who created a big hue and cry against the Police in the Shah-e-Mardan case. Bahadur Naqvi is a nephew of Kazmi and it was well-known that Kazmi was supporting his nephew. Several people were talking openly that the police won’t leave Bahadur for the enmity he has developed with it but none knew that his uncle would pay the price.

In the end, I would say that it is still premature to say if Kazmi is really guilty or not? But so many times it has happened that charges have been framed on the most unlikely of persons, like Kazmi. Are we not reasonable in demanding that the police reveal openly on what basis did it catch Kazmi, or any other person for that matter?

The Government should be open that it would not allow the US or Israel to play its dirty politics on Indian soil. It is well-known that money is a great allurement in our country. Otherwise, there are tools liked accident, murder, abduction, threat, false charges, allegations, that are often used and we just watch. As Indians, are we now ready to take the side of justice and truth, whatever it is and whomsoever it favours or disfavours.

And till Israel stops meddling in India's internal affairs and changes its unjust and cruel policies, the Government of India should go back to the early days and cut off all diplomatic and other links with Israel.  At the same time, the US should be told that it is a valuable friend but it should not take this friendship for granted and should stop meddling in our internal affairs. A thorough probe should be ordered in Wikileaks revelations.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 March 2012 on page no. 1

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