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India: Citizens’ Statement on the arrest of Journalist Kazmi

10 March 2012

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The undersigned condemn the arrest of senior journalist Syed Mohammad Kazmi by the Delhi Police Special Cell in connection with the attack on Israeli diplomat last month. Mr. Kazmi’s arrest is reminiscent of the arrest and false allegations against another veteran journalist, Iftikhar Gilani, several years ago. We fear that Mr. Kazmi may be made a scapegoat in order to please an international lobby. It is no secret that Israel held Iran culpable within minutes of the attack, and there has been immense pressure on India to sever its ties with Iran—both from Israel and US (to the extent that US displayed its obvious unhappiness to foreign secretary Ranjan Mathai over the fact that India was not heeding the unilateral sanctions imposed by the US on Iran.) 

Israel also pressured India to support a resolution condemning “Iranian terrorism” in the UN Security Council. While the Indian government has so far held out against the pressure, even refusing to implicate Iran in the attack, a recent report in Jerusalem Post stated that, “Israel provided the Indian authorities with information on two suspects in the attack connected with Iran” (http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=257830). Has Mr. Kazmi been picked up upon tips provided by Israeli agencies? How credible can these inputs be, given Israel’s clear intent to condemn and implicate Iran as the source of the attack? We are anxious that the Persian-knowing Mr. Kazmi, a journalist with the Iranian News agency, IRNA, who would obviously be in regular touch with his sources and employers in Iran and the Iranian embassy, is being targeted precisely because of these reasons. 

Mr. Kazmi is well respected and known to the journalist fraternity for his professional integrity. We demand that he be immediately released on bail and the due process of law followed.

Aamir Idrisi (President, Association of Muslim Professionals), Abdul Daiyan (social activist, Bihar), Abu Zafar Adil Azmi (Special Correspondent, Afkar-e-Milli), Achin Vanaik (Writer and Activist), Afroz Alam Sahil (Editor, Beyondheadlines), Ajit Sahi (Senior Journalist, Delhi), Anuradha Bhasin (Editor, Kashmir Times), Arundhati Roy (Writer and Activist), Asad Zaidi, Azam Khan (social activist, Hyderabad), Bhavna Sharma (social activists, Anhad), Bobby Kunhu, Dilip Khan (Journalist), Dr Anand Pradhan, Dr. Hilal Ahmed (Associate Fellow, CSDS), Dr. Saroj Giri (University of Delhi), Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan (Editor, the Milli Gazette), Farah Naqvi (Writer & Activist, Delhi), Fr Cedric Prakash (Human Rights Activist), Gauhar Iqbal (Palestine Foundation), Hanif Lakdawala (social activist, Gujarat), Harsh Kapoor (SACW.net), Hilal Ahmed, Imran Khan (social activist, Anhad), Jawed Naqvi (Senior Journalist), John Dayal (Member, National Integration Council), Kamayani Bali Mahabal, Khadeeja Arif (BBC News), Khurshid Anwar, KN Panikkar (Historian), Kundan Pandey (Journalist), Madhuresh Kumar, Mahesh Bhatt (Filmmaker), Mahtab Alam (Civil Rights Activist and Freelance Journalist), Manisha Sethi (Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association), Mansi Sharma (Social Activist), Md. Ali (Twocircles.Net), Mukul Dube, Mukul Kesavan (writer and historian), Mumtaz Alam Falahi (Editor, Twocircles.Net), Nandita Das (film actress), Navaid Hamid (Member, National Integration Council), Neshat Quaiser (Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi), Panini Anand (Editor, Pratirodh), Prof. Anuradha Chenoy (JNU), Prof. Anwar Alam (Center for West Asian Studies, Jamia), Prof. Apoorvanand (Delhi University), Prof. Jairus Banaji (Historian), Prof. Kamal Mitra Chenoy (JNU), Prof. Nirmalangshu Mukherjee (University of Delhi), Prof. Shohini Ghosh (MCRC, Jamia), Ram Puniyani (social activist, writer), Sadiq Naqvi (Journalist), Sanjay Kak (Filmmaker), Sanjay Sharma (social activist, Anhad), Satya Sivaraman (journalist), Seema Mustafa (Senior Journalist), Shabnam Hashmi (Social Activist), ANHAD, Shafi Mahajir (advocate Hyderabad), Sharmila Tagore (Actor), Shivam Vij, Sohail Hashmi (filmmaker, writer), Soheb Niazi, Sucheta Dey (President, JNU Student Union), Sukumar Muralidharan (journalist), Tanveer Hussain (activist, Kashmir), Vijayan MJ, Vivan Sundaram (artist), Waliullah Laskar (Activist), Zaheeruddin Ali Khan (editor, Siasat), Zoobi Amir (Film Maker, Delhi)

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