Scribes, activists seek immediate release of Kazmi

New Delhi: A group of journalists, activists and academicians on Wednesday sought immediate release of journalist Syed Mohammed Ahmed Kazmi, arrested in connection with the car bomb attack on an Israeli diplomat here.

Terming Kazmi's arrest as a "travesty of justice", members of the Syed Kazmi Solidarity Committee, the informal grouping of senior journalists and civil rights activists, demanded his immediate release.

"There are various loopholes regarding Kazmi's arrest. He was detained on March 6 at 11.30 in the morning. However, the arrest memo records his arrest at 11.30 in the night. This discrepancy is reason enough to show how callous the police has been in the probe," noted journalist Seema Mustafa said.

Kazmi was picked up by the Delhi Police's Special Cell after its probe purportedly found that he had been in touch with a suspect who is believed to have stuck the magnetic bomb on Israeli diplomat Tal Yehoshua's car on February 13. His judicial custody was recently extended till April 21.

"The custody has been extended but Delhi police is yet to file a chargesheet. It is evident officials do not have a case here," Mustafa alleged.

The journalists and activists also attacked Delhi Police for citing as evidences phone calls made by Kazmi and his bank transactions to arrest him.

"Kazmi's phone calls prior to and after the February 13 attack were all made from connections he had for years. Who would have done that if he intended to carry out such an attack?" John Cherian, Associate editor of Frontline, said.

"People close to him know how proud and passionate he was about journalism and he would never do anything to tarnish his reputation. He is being made a scapegoat, nothing more. If it has happened to Kazmi, it can happen to anyone," he said.

On Delhi Commissioner B K Gupta's statement that Kazmi and his wife had been receiving foreign remittances "regularly", senior advocate Colin Gonsalves claimed Kazmi's family has "documentation which establishes that these transactions date back to at least four years and follow a regular monthly pattern and there is nothing devious about the source."

"The evidences presented by Delhi police are nothing but deliberate and blatant misrepresentation of facts," he said.