17 March 2012
DSU Public Meeting - Of arrests, persecution and minority witch hunting: The framing of Mohammad Ahmed Kazmi
On the morning of 6th March at around 11.30 am, plainclothes policemen of the notorious Special Cell of the Delhi arrested a leading Urdu journalist Mohammad Ahmed Kazmi when he was returning from India Islamic Cultural Centre, where he used to take classes for children. Within few hours, news channels uncritically reproducing the police claims started flashing the news of his arrest as a big breakthrough in the case of the attack on the Israeli diplomat outside the Israeli embassy on 13th February. Many hours later late at night, the police landed up at his house and forced his son to sign on the arrest memo threatening him dire consequences if he refused. Despite no evidence to implicate him in any way to the attack, he was remanded on the 7th March by the Tis Hazari Court to an unprecedented 20 days police custody. Despite protests from the journalists and thousands of people, he continues to be in police custody and even his family has not been allowed to meet him despite repeated appeals.
Who is Mohammad Ahmed Kazmi and why exactly was he arrested? A senior journalist who has worked in the last 20 years with Doordarshan, BBC, INRA, other leading news agencies and is a regular contributor to many Urdu dailies and periodicals, Kazmi, unlike many other journalists, had consistently and openly expressed his political views which were not in line with the ‘strategic interests’ of the Indian ruling elite. He had extensively covered the war declared by the US imperialists on Iraq on 2003 and had also recently been to Syria to cover the political developments there. More recently just a few days before his arrest, opposing the belligerent war mongering of the US imperialists against Iran, he was one of the panelists in an NDTV talk against the likes of RSS ideologue Tarun Vijay. As someone who been reporting on West Asia for past 20 years, he had made many trips to many of these countries and also knew many languages like Arabic and Persian. Now all this is being held against him as ‘evidences’ of his ‘terrorist’ links!
Kazmi, as an outspoken critic of US imperialism and the Zionist Israeli state had become an eye sore for them and the Indian state. After the attack on the Israeli diplomats, Israel had held Iran responsible for the attack right away. Israeli investigators landed up in India and had been ‘closely cooperating’ with the Indian ‘investigative’ agencies. The arrest of Kazmi can now be seen as a result of this ‘close cooperation’ between the Indian and Israeli investigative agencies. After his arrest, officials of the Mossad, the Israeli investigative agency have also arrived to ‘interrogate’ him and the Indian state has no problems with foreign investigative agencies interrogating its own citizen. As a junior partner of the imperialist forces, the ‘leads’ provided by the Israeli investigative agencies are for the Indian ruling establishment more ‘reliable’ than any evidence. When the courts were pointed out about the lack of any evidence, the public prosecutor defended it by saying that sharing it would mean the real accused would abscond.
The case of Mohammad Ahmed Kazmi is not an isolated case and follows a well repeated pattern of minority witch-hunting where all institutions of the state from the police, judiciary or the media take turns to implicate and brand Muslims as ‘terrorists’. The repeated witch-hunting of Muslims exposes one of the most brutal faces of the Indian ruling class. In various cases of bomb blasts be it Ajmer Sharif, Samjhauta Express, Mecca Masjid blast and others scores of muslims particularly muslim youth have been repeatedly targeted, implicated, arrested, harassed and tortured. They continue to languish in jails even after the bone-chilling confessions of Aseemanand revealing: not muslims, but the Sangh giroh were behind these attacks. The cases of Muslim witch-hunting continues unabashed across the country. The cold blooded murder of Ishrat Jahan and others and the fake encounter killing of two young innocent boys in Batla House are just a few gory instances of a concerted and systemic attack. Last year, three years after they were falsely implicated in the Jaipur bomb blast, a fast track sessions court in Jaipur acquitted 11 of the 14 people. The judge noted how the prosecution was not able to produce even a trace of evidence to prove its claims that these men were building terror networks across the country. They accused on the other hand, recounted the ordeal and torture they underwent at the hands of the police, local goons and the jail authorities. And this again is no isolated incident. Alongside these acquittals more people were being picked up from various places and subject to the same sordid harassment.
The Indian ruling classes are playing the role of a loyal foot soldier of the US-Israel dictated ‘war on terror’. For all the parliamentary parties in India too, the muslim population is either treated as compliant vote-bank or are deemed as ‘terrorists’. The discrimination and persecution of muslims only reflects the hindu fascist character of the Indian state. The case of Mohammad Ahmed Kazmi too is yet another fascist attempt by the repressive regime that throttles all voices of critiques and resistance against their imperialist masters. All democratic forces in the country must unite to ensure his immediate release along with all other implicated people who are currently languishing in various prisons of this country.
Posted by Democratic Students Union at 12:39 am