Another Notable Protest at Jantar Mantar for release of journalist Kazmi
Thousands of protestors from across Delhi and even from adjoining states like UP, Haryana etc assembled at Jantar Mantar today, April 30, to protest against the incarceration of the New Delhi based prominent Urdu Journalist Mohammad Ahmad Kazmi. Protestors, including women and children, carrying banners and sporting black armbands as a mark of protest, demanded the immediate release of Kazmi, who has been arrested on flimsy and unsubstantiated charges. A high-profile panel of speakers including politicians, religious clerics, community leaders and senior members of civil society unequivocally condemned the arrest of Kazmi. The protestors alleged that he has been implicated on false charges at the behest of powerful zionist lobby inDelhi. Speaking on the occasion,Lucknow–based senior cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawad termed it a ‘vicious conspiracy’ against a law-abiding and reputed journalist like Kazmi. “It is a matter of shame for the largest democracy that Muslims are living in fear today, due to episodes like this,” said Jawad. He said the protests will intensify in coming days and will spread to other parts of country, if Kazmi is not released soon. Okhla MLA Asif Mohammad Khan slammed the Congress government for backtracking on the promises made in parliamentary elections. “This government has utterly failed the Muslims of country. The ghosts of Batla House encounter are still haunting the Muslim youth and now they are targeting journalists who like to call spade a spade,” said Khan. Saleem Peerzada, President, Parcham Party ofIndia, launched a scathing attack on the Congress- led government. “Muslims of India are the proud citizens of this country and they will not tolerate any such smear campaigns against them. Police brutality has to stop or else we will be forced to raise the banner of revolt,” said Peerzada. Among other speakers included Dr Ali Ameer, Vice President of Parcham Party ofIndia, Zafarullah Khan of Jamia Nagar Solidarity Group besides others. Speakers also spoke about the importance of the freedom of speech and expression and how it is often sacrificed at the altar of ‘national interest’ or ‘strategic interest’. “It is unfortunate that innocent journalists and writers are incarcerated merely for expressing their views, which are not in conformity with official rhetoric, and it sets a dangerous precedent for future,” said one of the speakers. The protestors called for an end to mindless witchhunt and targeting of innocent Muslims byDelhipolice. The protestors also condemned the misrepresentation of facts in certain sections of mainstreamIndiamedia. Students and activists present criticized government for kowtowing before the foreign intelligence agencies. “We voted for Indian government not forIsrael. Why is an Indian government taking directive fromIsrael, which is already so notorious for illegal spying operations and war crimes inWest Asia,” said Nissar Hussain, a student. After the protest demonstration, protestors took out a march from Jantar Mantar toParliament Streetand submitting a signed petition and memorandum before the senior police officials of Parliament Street Police Station. Kazmi, a veteran journalist who has worked with Doordarshan, BBC, IRNA, UNI and is a regular columnist for Urdu newspapers in India, was picked up by police on Wednesday, March 7, while returning to his home in Jor Bagh from India Islamic Cultural Centre, Lodhi Road. He is accused of providing the ‘logistical support’ to those who attacked the Israeli diplomat’s car inNew Delhirecently. His family and friends has rubbished the charges as baseless and concocted, alleging that he has been falsely implicated because he is an outspoken critic of US andIsrael. He has been booked under the stringent provisions of dreadful Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). Kazmi’s counsel said that he was forced to sign on the arrest memo hours after the arrest. The police have not yet produced any case diary or charge sheet.