Letter to the Hoot: Donøt resort to character assassination

IN Opinion | 30/05/2003
If you are honest, put your team to investigate the charges which have been slapped on Moihuddin Bhatt.

Yes, the mainline media in Srinagar hates him even while depending on him for many years for umpteen number of news he has broken. But should it mean that you blank out whatever he has to say in his own  defence? Please don`t be unfair to him. Speak to him to know the fraud perpetrated by the Intelligence Bureau to put him behind the bars.

Do you know that the Government had to change the entire investigating team of Delhi Police after realising that the team that had caught him at the instance of IB had concocted all sorts of evidence that will collapse even before the case goes before the Court for regular hearing?
The most crucial letter of a Hizbul commander allegedly seized by the original investigating team from his Kashmir office and used to convert the Arms Act case into a POTA case has turned out to be a forged fax message as its author is already dead. The new investigating team that went to Srinagar last week found so many other evidences also bogus like his use of the seized mobile phone for contacting some Pakistan numbers, etc.Even the Chinese pistol seized from Mohiuddin appears to have been seized from half a dozen other persons in the past two weeks and no wonder the same pistol is being planted by Police in each case. The
Hawala money seizure also has an altogether different angle that Police knows but it will never tell you. Mohiuddin`s staff is without salary for the past four, five months. Had Mannika spoken to some of them instead of talking to only those who are opposed to him, she would have known the purpose for which he was carrying Rs 6.5 lakhs with him at the time of his arrest.

 Please don`t make fun of a person when he is caught in difficulties. I am only sad that you people have learnt absolutely nothing from the way Iftikhar Gilani of The Kashmir Times was framed up with similar false and fabricated charges. Nobody was making the kind of comments about Mohiuddin all this time until he was arrested. Many in the Srinagar media were, in fact, eating out of his hands, getting big bylines for the news stories they got from his local agency KPS.

Most shocking is the way Mannika has sought to justify his illegal and illegitimate arrest by attributing to "a random survey of the media community in Srinagar" and concluding "that given the circumstances, the arrest was legitimate." Interestingly, she says nobody knows for sure, except for a general suspicion, that he was getting funds from groups located across the border. Today it is Mohiuddin`s turn, tomorrow it will be yours and of other journalists being put behind the bar just on "suspicion."

If you want to hold a man guilty on the premise that the majority wants it as Mannika has tried to surmise, that will be the end of the rule of law as it will be then a rule of the mob that commands majority. Are you not volunteering to be a fodder for the BJP which is trying to inject the majority`s will in all issues?

If you are honest, put your team to investigate the charges which have been slapped on him instead of weaving stories about his antecedents and motives exactly in the manner the IB did with another journalist, Iftikhar Gilani, to support his detention under the Official Secrets Act with e-mails to claim he had anti-India mentality. Hopefully, you have not played into the hands of the IB which is overworked these days trying to plant all sorts of juicy stories about Mohiuddin to justify his illegal arrest.

Jal Khambata
jal@jalnews.com 

New Delhi

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Journalists in Kashmir are up in arms over the summons issued by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to Kashmir Observer journalist Aqib Javed Hakim, for his interview with jailed separatist leader Asiya Andrabi in January. This amounted to intimidation and harassment, a joint statement of the Kashmir Working Journalist Association (KWJA) and Kashmir Journalist Association said, adding that, in the Kamran Yousuf case, the NIA had tried to define journalism by its own skewed standards.                           

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