Human Rights

Mediaman from India held on terror charges in US

Mumbai/Houston: Vijay Kumar (40) who claims to be a documentary maker was arrested at George Bush Intercontinental Airport Houston for carrying a prohibited metal weapon, Islamic jihedi literature and undeclared $10,000. He was later released on bail of $5,000.

Kumar’s Houston visit was to attend the Hindu Congress of America where he was supposed to lecture on Islamic fundamentalism. The jihadi literature he was accused of carrying include Spycraft, New Voices of Islam. He was carrying, in addition, brass knuckles, manual for a handgun. Convinced that he was not a threat “a peaceful man” he was released on bail after two days of custody.

Kumar, who speaks very little English, carried brass knuckles for self-protection in India. Brass knuckles is a prohibited weapon under Houston law. “It’s a third degree felony and could attract upto 10 years in prison if proved guilty” told District Attorney Donna Hawkins. He was also carrying a computer flash drive (or “thumb drive”).

Later on a judge ordered him “voluntary departure.” After denying him a bond, he asked him to leave US within 90 days. ‘Voluntary departure’ differs from deportation. After voluntary departure the person can seek visa for US again. However, it is surprising that a man who does not speak English was invited to lecture an American audience. Yet, he carries books written in English.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-30 September 2012 on page no. 11

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