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A group of senior journalists and social activists today demanded immediate and unconditional release of a scribe arrested in connection with the bombing of an Israeli diplomat’s vehicle here and said no Indian should be allowed to be questioned by Israeli agencies.

Condemning the arrest of 50-year-old Syed Mohammed Ahmed Kazmi, they said it is an attack on free speech and writing.

The arrest is an attack on free speech and writing, and the Special Cell of Delhi Police should be “disbanded as it is working against people”, said senior journalist Seema Mustafa.

“He should be granted unconditional and immediate bail and the Congress government should step in,” she told a press conference here.

Government was maintaining that Iran was not involved in the blast but at what point of time did the Indian authorities decide that Iran is involved, she asked.

Questioning the effectiveness of the Special Cell, journalist Sukumar Muralidharan asked if it was global kind of agenda being served with the arrest of Kazmi.

Besides granting immediate bail to Kazmi, top authorities of Delhi Police should assure that he will not be ill treated, said Muralidharan.

Another senior journalist Saeed Naqvi said he has taken up the matter in his personal capacity with senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan and Press Council Chairman Justice Markandey Katju.

Kazmi’s son Shauzab said Congress and other political parties should support his father so that he can be freed as soon as possible.

He also claimed that his father was “innocent” and being mentally tortured in custody.

“My father looked very tense when I last met him the day before yesterday. However, there was no sign of physical torture,” he said, adding that for the last two days no family members were allowed to meet Kazmi.

Meanwhile, a statement signed by writer-activist Arundhati Roy, Historian KN Panikkar, filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, actress Nandita Das and Sharmila Tagore said “We fear that Mr Kazmi may be made a scapegoat to please an international lobby. It is no secret that Israel held Iran culpable within minutes of the attack.”

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

Claiming that the February 13 bombing in the heart of the Capital was a case of “international terrorism”, Delhi Police accused Kazmi of helping the bomber conduct reconnaissance of the Israeli embassy.



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