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Thursday, Dec 02, 2021
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Staring Out Voices

Rounding up of innocent Muslims was a factor that cost the Congress Muslim votes in UP.

Staring Out Voices
Staring Out Voices
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Disembodied fear actualises into horrible reality in a faster, scarier way than presumed at first. In my column after the attack on an Israeli diplomat, I had feared stereotyped profiling and rounding up of people under draconian laws by our security agencies. And I had warned that our agencies should avoid the trap of regarding opposition to western and Israeli policies in West Asia as militant jehadism. In the arrest of S.M. Kazmi and harassment of John Cherian by the Delhi police, my fears now knock menacingly on the door of the same ‘freedom of the press’ behind which I so often seek shelter, a seemingly fragile privilege, though the aam aadmi, whose rights are trampled upon everyday, has no access to even that. I hate to read conspiracy theories in tea leaves, yet I’m forced to note that both Kazmi and Cherian are journalists with outspoken anti-Israeli, pro-Iranian views. The hand-out for the police visit at Cherian’s house, that the police had acted on a hoax tipoff, makes the visit look ridiculous. But we can only guess how intimidating it must have been for him. More serious, prima facie, is the persecution of Kazmi. Silence on a few vital questions makes the security agencies suspect.

Is there credible evidence against Kazmi, like a legally obtained, incriminating phone intercept? Or does the case stand on a few calls from a journalist to his contacts after a major incident, or a so-called intercept produced by a foreign (Israeli or western) agency? Are there credible witnesses of Kazmi deliberately sheltering any Iranian, or conducting a ‘reconnaissance’ of the Israeli embassy (all journalists on the foreign beat are supposed to know its layout), or any remote terror link? If so, how did the Union home ministry, which controls Delhi police’s special cell that arrested Kazmi, grant him his security clearance for PIB accreditation? And why use a draconian law like the UAPA, which makes bail difficult and treats confession before the police (fabricated or forcibly extracted, who knows) as valid evidence?

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