Special Reports

Apex Court bails out Kazmi

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MG Correspondent

New Delhi: Noted Urdu journalist Muhammad Ahmad Kazmi was finally a free man when Supreme Court of India granted him bail on 20 October with conditions that he will surrender his passport to the court and will not leave the country during his trial. This brought his 8-month-long ordeal to an end for now.

Special Cell of Delhi Police had picked him up on 6 March on charges of somehow helping the conspirators who bombed the car of an Israeli diplomat on 13 February in Delhi this year.

Immediately after his arrest, the Police started making wild claims about his role, monies received and visits made to foreign countries, etc. This all was demolished during these eight months. Delhi police failed to lay its hands on any solid proof of his involvement in the so-called plot apart from vague charges of remaining in telephonic contact with one of the alleged conspirators. His family forcefully demolished the “financial motive” by proving to the concerned authorities that the remittances came from the savings of Mr. Kazmi’s sons in UAE over a number of years.

Mr. Kazmi’s able lawyer (Adv. Mahmood Paracha) was able to demonstrate to the courts that the very trial of the case in magisterial courts was a violation of UAPA under which Mr. Kazmi was arrested as the Act stipulates that only specially constituted courts can look into cases filed under this Act, that too with central government permission in each case. It is hoped that the relief secured by Mr. Kazmi will benefit hundreds of other detainees who are tried by lower courts in utter disregard of the Act. Moreover, the chief metropolitan judge was not authorised to send Mr. Kazmi to jail beyond the first 190 days.

In the ensuing trial, Mr. Kazmi’s lawyer intends to put the whole police force and lower judiciary on trial for exceeding their legal limits. He will especially concentrate on the tall claims made by Delhi police, especially by the Police Commissioner, about Mr. Kazmi in the wake of his arrest but those claims were finally not mentioned in the chargesheet although it had succeeded in vitiating the atmosphere and had seriously defamed Mr. Kazmi’s reputation and had even harmed India’s relations with a friendly country (Iran) which in itself is an offence under Indian laws.

Just as Mr. Kazmi’s case was fought by the civil society all these months through press conferences, protests, candle march, statements and meeting officials, his release too was warmly welcomed by a vast spectrum of media, politicians, ordinary people, especially the Muslim community and its organisations. These forces had fought for him since his arrest on the obviously fake charges. Around a thousand people, including mediamen, academics milli and political leaders and Muslim community people gathered at Tihar Jail on 21 to welcome Mr. Kazmi’s release. It was a scene perhaps never seen in free India. A large caravan of buses and cars took him to Shah-e Mardan dargah near his house in Jorbagh where a function was organised to welcome and felicitate him. People who gathered at the Tihar gate and Shah-e Mardan noted Shia scholar Maulana Kalb-e Jawad, AIMMM President, Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan, Welfare Party President Mujtaba Farooq, Jamaat-e Islami Hind Secretary Muhammad Ahmad, noted Journalist Jawed Naqwi, JTSA’s Manisha Sethi, General Secretary of Delhi Union of Journalists  S.K. Pande, Chairman of Shia Point Zaheer Zaidi, educationist Firoz Bakht, Shia scholars Muhsin Taqwi, Jalal Haidar and Hasn Kumaili and many others. Of course, his own family was there. His wife and two sons tirelessly supported him during his ordeal.

Kazmi said at the Shah-e Mardan reception that he was implicated in a fake case. His crime was only that as a journalist he spoke against Israel and the US. He said, if he wanted money he could have worked for the US, not Iran. “But I know  to differentiate between truth and falsehood,” he said. He was thrilled by the unity shown by the Muslim community in his defence and said that his incarceration was a small price to achieve this unity. Receptions and meetings are being held continuously to welcome Mr. Kazmi, share his grief and show support to him.    

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 November 2012 on page no. 13

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