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Candle Light Vigil For Arrested Journalist

By Syed Zafar Mehdi

13 March, 2012

The silence of flickering candle flames that lit up the shadowy hours of night at India Gate vouched for the innocence of man arrested by ‘security’ agencies on apparently bogus charges. Thousands of protestors, holding candles and placards, wearing black armbands and simmering with anger, who had gathered in support of Mohammad Ahmad Kazmi and in solidarity with his family, vowed to fight for truth and justice. Many high-profile dignitaries, religious clerics and senior members of civil society had also turned up. Protestors, mostly youth, denounced the arrest of Kazmi and alleged that he has been framed by police at the behest of powerful Israeli-US lobby in Delhi.

Lucknow-based senior cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawad called it a ‘sinister conspiracy’ of mischief-mongers to target innocents on flimsy grounds. He demanded the immediate release of Kazmi and warned of nation-wide agitation in case the justice is not done. Another senior cleric and Vice President of All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) Maulana Kalbe Sadiq said government cannot summarily dismiss the demands of people. He called for a free and fair trial in the case and assured his family all the support.

A representative of Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid Delhi also spoke on the occasion. He said the gross human rights violations meted out to people from minority community will prove costly for the ruling party. He said the election results in UP are a wakeup call for Congress-led government, because it has failed to protect members of minority community. MLA Okhla Asif Mohammad Khan also lashed out at Congress for preaching lessons in pseudo-secularism. He said that people will remember such wrongs and injustices, where innocents are framed on utterly dubious charges. Rajya Sabha MP Mohammad Adeeb launched a scathing attack on the incumbent government and vowed to take up the matter in parliament. Social activist Shabnam Hashmi said there is no authentic evidence against the accused, and it amounts to brazen violation of his most fundamental rights.

Among other noted personalities who were present include Saeed Naqvi, Javed Naqvi, Aziz Burney, S K Pande, Sandeep Dixit, Shakeel Hasan Shamsi, Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan, Himanshu Kumar, Harsh Kapoor besides others. Kazmi’s family – wife and two sons – were also present at the candle light vigil. “My father is innocent, and I can vouch for it. He can never be involved in any such dastardly crime. It’s certainly a conspiracy against him,” said Shauzab Kazmi, his 23-year old son, who has been spearheading this campaign, demanding justice for his father.

Kazmi 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 in New Delhi recently. According to the police, main accused have already fled the country. His family has trashed the charges as unwarranted and concocted, alleging that he has been framed primarily because he is an outspoken critic of US and Israel and appears on news channels regularly.

His younger son Turab Kazmi had to appear in his 12th boards in few days, but he says he is already facing the bigger and more difficult examination of his life. “I hope my father comes back soon so that I can resume my studies peacefully,” says Turab.

Writer is a New Delhi based journalist, working with Hindustan Times. He can be reached at armaan.journo@gmail.com


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