On arrest of Mohammad Ahmad Kazmi…

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 was running a news agency since several years and was an employee of India Islamic Cultural Center (IICC), working for the President of IICC as his media advisor and a Urdu journalist who was most vocal in speaking against Israeli and American policies in the Middle East, particularly related to Iran affairs. That he has remained 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 the mainline Urdu newspaper. 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 in 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 be there a few who see the policy of some other country as correct? This is a very serious question as till date we took pride that India is a country where every one has free right of speech.

Fact remains thatIndia’s oil relations with Iran are responsible for all this. Focus and politics has shifted to India as the US and Israel does not want this relationship to continue, despite the fact that they know very well that the Saudi oil that India would have to rely on, if it doesn’t take Iranian oil, is extremely impure, rich in Sulphur and requires nearly double cost on refining, which will surely be passed on to the consumers. Moreover, a good amount of rice and other commodities are exported from India. More than this, Iran is an old ally. My real worries are two: Despite all the claims that India is about to become a superpower, are we so prone 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 an Arab country or even like few European countries where you cannot say what you wish to say. From the targeting of Kazmi, a very wrong signal is going, among the people. Are we not free to say what our conscience allows us to say?

Lately, we have seen a full-fledged propaganda exercise in India through the hands of those having loyalties to the US and Israel. A self-proclaimed journalist was roaming around asking all and sundry who matters about who are the journalists who are being paid to do articles in Iran’s favour. This journalist is reported to have met several people inLucknowandDelhiwith the same question. Question is whether any media house do such a story unless it itself doesn’t have vested interests? Even if this may be true that certain journalists are being paid to do stories in Iran’s favour, how will you prove this? Moreover, why do a story only in relation toIranand leave the countries that are having an edge on propaganda?

I don’t think Kazmi was writing on Iran because he was being paid. This journalist’s questioning was merely a propaganda exercise to stop 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? The fact that majority of publications are doing stories/articles suiting the US/Israeli interests and several people were fast enough to pass the blame on Iran the moment the blast on Israeli car took place in India, it is the need of the hour that Indian Government should make public the list of all newspapers/TV channels who have Israeli and US stakes so that at least the Muslims should know which channels to watch and which not to watch.

Majority of Muslims in India and across the world are against 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 at the side of truth and justice. Most Indians know it fully that the US and Israel’s policies are not on moralistic ground but keep silent as they feel they are not involved. Likewise, several Muslims too feel that they are not involved when one or the other is caught. It is possible that Kazmi will come out free from courts after a few years. But by then, the propagandist machinery ofIsraeland the US would have achieved its purpose. With a few more cases like these, the renowned propaganda machinery of Israel would be able to build an atmosphere that even Shias are involved in terrorism. Why is this atmosphere being built now? Only because the new targets are Iran, Lebanon and Syria? Iran for being majority Shia, Lebanon for having Hezbollah as the Shia outfit and Syria for being pro-Iran, notwithstanding the fact that Iran’s relations are sour with Israel and the US chiefly because of Palestine issue (a Sunni country). All Shias and most Sunnis for that matter (other than those with Talibani mentality) believe that all kind of terrorism is against Islam. On the contrary, the real propagators of terrorism among Muslims were the countries which are still allies with the US. The US which invaded Afghanistan under the pretext of finishing off the Talibanis are now recruiting the Talibanis to kill those who are seeking a democratic form of Government in Bahrain. At the same time, it is using the same Talibanis to fight against Bashar al-Assad in Syria, in the name of democracy and human rights. Till when will we continue to keep our eyes close to these blatant trampling of human rights and justice?

The Shias 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. These Imams were greatest champions of peace and followed the path of peace shown by Prophet Mohammad. Imam Husain is remembered as martyr to this day only because he continued to call wrong as wrong when the superpower of the time wanted him to say the opposite. Imam Husain and his entire family were slain as a consequence to his stand but he didn’t budge an iota despite all pressure. Imam Husain’s life is an example for several Muslims and this is the reason why they stand by whatever they see as truth and oppose the oppressors.

To me, as a Muslim who considers himself on the true path laid down by Islam, 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 have some affinity for the miseries being inflicted on 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. Moreover, there are several places of religious importance to Muslims in the Gulf countries, which becomes one reason why the Muslims are more than willing to visit these countries. But if any Indian Muslim works against the interest 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 propaganda that has ensued left lasting views in the hearts and minds of majority community that Muslims are terrorists, even though that person was released by courts/or not released after a few years. It is time for the saner sections of the Indian community on the whole, irrespective of their caste, creed or religion to speak out that certain laws should be framed:

  • Police should be made responsible for the people they are catching.
  • We should decide how our laws should be. Are we ready to have a law where in the name of catching the culprits, few innocent people too get caught and it doesn’t matter or are we willing to make a law where not even a single innocent person is framed under false charges?
  • Are we willing to get into a situation where a police inspector or a thana incharge catches a person in the name of terrorism even because the person is friendly to the thana incharge’s wife, ruins his life and that of his family by keeping him in prison for a few years until the courts quashes the case and he has lost all savings hiring the lawyers and ruined his family’s future. 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 catching somebody else under a similar excuse.

The question that arises now is why should the Indian police be working for Israel and US’s interest? Another pertinent question is why the decision to make arrest was not  taken until the election results in 5 states were declared? In answer, there are a few questions that come to mind:

  • The Wikileaks controversy seemed 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 the US interests at the cost of their own country’s interest.  It also showed to what extent are we prone to propaganda?
  • As regards to propaganda, the UK only recently got to know to what extent certain people command the agenda of their country. By opening the media to foreign invasion, India too has opened the doors to become the slaves of these powers in the future.
  • Why did the Mossad chief came toIndiaa few days before the blast on a hush hush visit? Will the Indian officials release the purpose of his visit? Why was he here? Why this visit was kept secret by Indian authorities? Naturally, the Indian CBI or RAW chief cannot visit any country secretly without the consent of that country’s government and not without reasons to discuss a certain agenda.
  • What will Iran gain by planning such activities  in India? Also, we need to discuss what they would loose if they loose India’s support at this juncture.
  • India has silently left behind the cause of Palestine and now is on 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. Leaving of Palestine cause is because some other people have decided that truth and justice don’t matter in matters related to self-interest. We will have to decide which of the two policies we wish to follow?
  • Why has 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 thousands of innocent humans? We should remember that the sama, dama, danda policy 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 Mohammad, who gave several 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 get caught. Bahadur incidentally took the fight to UP and said that the Congress won’t get any Shia vote in UP unless its demands are met. He even organized a demonstration outside the Congress headquarters and due to all this Congress’ image in UP had was severely hit. Initially, the police in Jor Bagh had shown a wireless set missing and Bahadur’s name was in the FIR but those FIRs were taken back under pressure when Maulana Kalbe Jawad joined the battle and pressurized the Congress in taking back the FIRs and agreeing to some of the other demands.

In the end, I would say that still I am not in position to say whether 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 investigation did it caught Kazmi, or any other person for that matter? Otherwise, some other person would get caught, and you and me would just say, ‘he didn’t appear to be a terrorist?’

Look at the charges that are coming to light through the media! A TV channel wrote in the scroll underneath that an ‘Iranian journalist has been caught in the Israeli bomb blast case’, despite knowing fully well that he was an Indian journalist. Then it said that the laptop, dollars and the bike used in the attack has been seized from him. Moreover, it was said that Kazmi had been visiting Iran on many occasions and went on a foreign trip after the attack. From the face of it, there is nothing negative in these but these things have been portrayed as against Kazmi by this channel. Which journalist today doesn’t have a laptop? Important thing was if anything wrong had been found on his laptop. Dollars are being portrayed as negative. First, it is not revealed how many dollars he possessed? Anybody who goes on a foreign trip takes dollars and very few people change them upon coming back. Normally they keep them for the next trip. Unless the dollars are in big number, Kazmi was expected to possess them since the blame against him has been that ‘he has been visiting foreign countries’. Is it really something wrong! Moreover, if he was having dollars, he should have been caught for keeping connections with the US. How are dollars related with Iran? Any successful journalist particularly those writing on foreign affairs, are taken on foreign trips just as those writing on corporate affairs are invited by the companies and those writing on hospitality are given invitations by hotels to try them out. Even travel journalists are taken for FAM trips to countries where there is tourism potential. Only till the other day India was boasting of its relations with Iran; how could a journalist know that he is to decline the invitation from a particular country and accept from the other like US andIsrael. Only recently Syria invited so many Indian journalists to see the ground situation in their country. There is no rule till now that the journalists should take permission from any department prior to visiting any country. If Kazmi had violated a rule, then it was justified that he be punished. As regards to the bike, till yesterday the police was saying that nothing was identifiable in the CCTVs. If they have the footage with Kazmi’s bike they should release it.

I tried to see how much I am vulnerable in such a situation. First and foremost, I too have a laptop. Secondly, there might be a few dollars lying somewhere which I didn’t got changed after coming back from a foreign trip. Moreover, I was also having two Iranian coins (I do not know whether they are still somewhere or I have lost them as I didn’t feel they were of any worth). I have written so many articles on the Arab world and also on Iran and some of them are currently under publication. These are my views and I was expressing them even before I visited Iran. On the contrary, I was given the invitation only because they felt my writings were somewhat in their favour. If they had known that I was writing against them, they would have never given an invitation. For instance, I hope of receiving no invitation from the Saudis as I have been extremely critical of them for their support of terrorism, shedding the support of Palestinian cause and doing all the wrong things in the name of Islam. The aforementioned conference was attended by journalists from over the world including a New York Times correspondent, two journalists from Italy, one from Germany and so many others from Latin America, Africa, West and East Asia including China, Indonesia, Turkey, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and so many other countries. Why didn’t the US stop its citizen from visiting Iran for the conference?

My request to the Indian Government is that it 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. Otherwise, there are tools like accident, murder, abduction, threat, framed charges, allegations, character-assassination, etc. that are oft-being used and we just watch. Are we as Indians now ready to take the side of justice and truth, whatever it is and whomsoever it favours or disfavours.

And till Israel doesn’t stop meddling in India’s  internal affairs and change its policies to those based on justice and truth, the Government of India should go back to the early days and end all diplomatic and other links with Israel at least for the time being.  At the same time, the US should be told that it is a valuable friend of India but it should not take this friendship for granted and stop to meddle in our internal affairs. A thorough probe should be ordered on Wikileaks accusations?

Views of S. Aziz Haider