Posts Tagged ‘S.M.A. Kazmi’

A new life for a newspaper title—and its editor

18 April 2013

Newspaper 1

The front page of the launch issue of Qaumi Salamati (National Security), the Urdu newspaper re-launched by S.M.A. Kazmi, the journalist who was arrested and jailed last year for his alleged involvement in a plot to blow up an Israeli diplomatic car in New Delhi. He is currently out on bail after eight months of incarceration.

Published from a swish Nizamuddin (East) address in the capital, the broadsheet 12-page daily (printed, published and owned by Siraj Pracha) is priced at two rupees. The headline of a front-page editorial, which occupies the bottom half of the page, reads: “Love for all, hatred for none.”

The lead story on day one was the earthquake which struck Iran and parts of Pakistan, with its reverberations being felt in Delhi. Among those present at the launch, India’s top Shia cleric Syed Kalbe Jawad and agro-industrialist Sirajuddin Qureshi, who was invited by US president Barack Obama for a 2010 meeting of global Muslim businessmen.

Also read: ‘TV news is full of non-issues, so that we don’t think’

Nine lessons a terror-suspect journalist learnt in jail

‘TV news full of non-issues. So, we don’t think’

13 April 2013

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S.M.A. Kazmi, the Urdu and Persian journalist arrested in February 2012 for his alleged involvement in the attack on an Israeli embassy vehicle, and released on bail eight months later, is set to launch an Urdu daily titled Quami Salamati (national security).

In an interview in the latest issue of Tehelka magazine, Kazmi answers what is now a standard question for journalists held and released on “terror” charges:

What is your view of the current state of journalism in India?

The media, both in India and other countries, is full of non-issues to keep people from thinking. In India, we sit in front of TV news channels for hours without having heard any news. At least a Doordarshan or an AIR bulletin gives out information. There is a set of journalists I call ‘poultry eggs’. They do stories the way editors tell them to. Reading newspapers in custody, though, I still have hope for the print media. It is more responsible.

Photograph: courtesy Tehelka

Read the full interview: ‘My arrest was psychological warfare’

Also read: Nine lessons a terror-suspect journo learnt in jail

9 lessons a ‘terror-suspect’ journo learnt in jail

27 February 2013

Deccan Herald journalist Muthi-ur-Rahman Siddiqui has walked out of the central jail in Bangalore a free man, six months after being named by the city’s police in an alleged Lashkar-e-Toiba plot to target two Kannada journalists and the publisher of the newspaper they were earlier employed in.

Siddiqui had been accused of being the “mastermind” of a gang of 15 in August last year to kill editor Vishweshwar Bhat, columnist Pratap Simha and publisher Vijay Sankeshwar, allegedly for their “right-wing leanings“. The journalists were with Vijaya Karnataka of The Times of India group, before they joined Rajeev Chandrasekhar‘s Kannada Prabha.

The national investigation agency (NIA), which investigated the case, didn’t name Siddiqui in its chargesheet on February 20 following which a special court trying the case ordered his release on February 23.

On Monday night, Siddiqui walked out of jail and on Tuesday, he addressed a press conference.

Reporting for the Indian Express, Johnson T.A. writes:

About six months ago, when he appeared in court for the first time after being named by the Bangalore Police, Siddiqui, 26, still had the glint of youthful exuberance in his eyes.

But now, the first thing that comes to mind on seeing Siddiqui after his release from prison on Monday, is the disappearance of that enthusiasm from his face. Gone is the glint in his eyes, and in its place is a serious, sad man.

Even so, Siddiqui, whose thesis suggestion for his PG diploma in mass communication—‘Media coverage of terrorism suspects’—was struck down by his supervisor pulled no punches in describing his own ordeal before his colleagues, compatriots and competitors.

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siddiqui

Deccan Herald journalist Muthi-ur-Rahman Siddiqui with a relative at a press conference at the Press Club of Bangalore on Tuesday, 26 February

# “The media has forgotten the ‘A’ in the ABC of Journalism [Accuracy-Brevity-Clarity].”

# “I always thought the police, media and society at large do not treat terror suspects fairly. That thinking has been reinforced by my experience.”

# “Security agencies are not sensitive towards the poor and weaker sections of society. If you look at the way the entire operation was carried out by the police and reported by the media, this insensitivity is clear.”

# According to the [Bangalore] police and the media, I am the mastermind. If I am the mastermind, why are the others still in jail? I hope they too will get justice.”

# “The media and the police need to be more sensitive toward the downtrodden, Dalits and Muslims. The way the media and the police behaved raises basic questions about their attitude toward Muslims.

# “Muslims are often cast by the media and police in stereotypes. There is an institutional bias which manifests in such cases. This is not just about me; it is about hundreds like me who are in jails [across the country] on terror charges. Muslims are not terrorists.”

# “If I was not a Muslim the police wouldn’t have picked me…. They first arrest people, then find evidence against them. What happened on August 29, 2012 was no arrest but downright kidnapping. A bunch of strong men barged into our house and forcefully took us away in their vehicles. This even as we were pleading and asking why we were being taken out.”

# “They kept interrogating me as if I was the mastermind and kept saying that I’d be in for seven years for sure. Everyone knows that jail is no fun place. For the first 30 days we were cramped in a small room. The confinement itself was torture.  They did not inform our families. They did not tell us what we were being arrested for. They made us sign 30-40 blank sheets of paper. One of these papers was used to create fake, back-dated arrest intimation.”

# “Some fair play is still possible in the system. Though justice was delayed, it wasn’t denied in my case.”

Siddiqui, who is still on Deccan Herald‘s roster, says he wants to go back to journalism, for that is his passion, but wants to spend time with his family first.

Two other journalists—Jigna Vora of The Asian Age and S.M.A. Kazmi—have been arrested in recent times on terror charges. They are both out on bail.

Photograph: Journalist Muthi-ur-Rahman Siddiqui at a press conference in Bangalore on 26 February 2013 (courtesy Md. Asad/ The Times of India)

Also read: Bangalore journo in plot to kill editor, columnist?

Anti-minority bias behind foiled bid on journos?

L’affaire Mohammed Haneef

Thankfully, TOI calls S.M.A Kazmi a journalist

20 October 2012

S. M. A. Kazmi, the Urdu and Persian language journalist arrested in March this year for his alleged involvement in the attack on the car of an Israeli embassy official in New Delhi in February, has been ordered by the Supreme Court of India to be released after seven long months in custody.

Not surprisingly, there is great cheer in the Kazmi family.

His son Turab, is quoted by the Hindustan Times as saying:

“The first call I made was to my mother who started crying over the phone when I gave her the good news. We are very happy because the truth is out and justice has been finally done. We want to thank the Almighty for giving us power to fight for injustice.”

Kazmi’s wife, Jahan Ara, is quoted by the Indian Express as saying:

Ibadat mein hi time guzra hai in saat mahino mein. Humare liye aaj hi eid hai (These seven months have been spent in prayers. Today is Eid for us).”

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However, behind the good news are signs of a sad and devious police plot.

Initially, many in the media merely doubted the police version of Kazmi’s alleged role in the attack. Now, it appears as if sections of the media are parroting the Delhi police version which doubts his very credentials as a journalist.

Kazmi read news for state-owned Doordarshan Urdu and did work for Radio Teheran  and covered the Gulf War. But news reports carrying the SC order, citing the Delhi police, are revealing.

Press Trust of India (PTI):

“Kazmi, who claims to have been writing for an Iranian publication, was picked up after a probe showed that he had been in touch with the suspect who is believed to have stuck the magnetic bomb on Israeli diplomat Tal Yehoshua’s car on February 13, according to the police.”

Hindustan Times correspondent:

“Kazmi, who claims to have been writing for an Iranian publication before his arrest in the case, was picked up after Delhi police investigation showed he had been in touch with the suspect who is believed to have stuck the magnetic bomb on Israeli diplomat Tal Yehoshua‘s car on February 13 this year, police said.”

The Indian Express quotes the court:

“The court said Kazmi, who claims to have been writing for an Iranian publication, has acquired his statutory right to bail on July 17.”

Thankfully, The Times of India bucks the trend:

“The Supreme Court on Friday granted bail to Syed Mohammad Ahmed Kazmi, a journalist who has been behind bars since March 6 in the Israeli diplomat car attack case.”

Image: courtesy Hindustan Times

Also read: Let the record show, Kazmi is not forgotten

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External reading: Eid comes early for Kazmi family: The Indian Express

Tehelka: Is there a case against Kazmi?

Let the record show: Kazmi is not forgotten

26 March 2012

The arrest of the journalist S.M.A. Kazmi by the Delhi police in connection with the attack on an Israeli embassy car in the capital’s diplomatic enclave has been all but forgotten by members of his fraternity. In Bangalore on Sunday, members of Quds Freedom Movement staged a dharna demanding his release.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

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