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Israeli car blast: Journalists, activists demand Kazmi's release

March 11, 2012 21:33 IST
A group of 71 personalities including social activists, filmmakers, scribes and writers on Sunday condemned the arrest of freelance journalist Syed Mohammed Kazmi in connection with the bombing of an Israeli diplomat's vehicle, saying that he may be made a scapegoat to "please an international lobby."

Noting that Kazmi is a "well respected" journalist, the group demanded that he be immediately released on bail and the due process of law followed.

The group included actress Sharmila Tagore, writer Arundhati Roy, historian K N Panikkar, Editor of Milli Gazette Zafarul Islam Khan, members of National Integration Council John Dayal and Navaid Hamid, filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, writer and historian Mukul Kesavan, actress Nandita Das, Anuradha Chenoy and Kamal Mitra Chenoy of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, journalist Jawed Naqvi and Anwar Alam of the Center for West Asian Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia.

"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," the group said in the statement.

"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," it said.

Kashmir Times editor Anuradha Bhasin, Professor Apoorvanand of Delhi University, historian Jairus Banaji, filmmaker Sanjay Kak, Shabnam Hashmi of ANHAD filmmaker Zoobi Amir, human rights activist Cedric Prakash and activist Tanveer Hussain of Kashmir and Gauhar Iqbal of Palestine Foundation also signed the statement.

Kazmi was arrested on March 7 from his Jor Bagh residence by the Delhi police in connection with the bombing of an Israeli diplomat's car.

Referring to a report in the Jerusalem Post which said that 'Israel provided the Indian authorities with information on two suspects in the attack', the group questioned whether Kazmi had been arrested upon "tips from Israeli agencies?"

"How credible can these inputs be, given Israel's clear intent to condemn and implicate Iran as the source of the attack," said the statement.

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