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Muslims take to streets to demand journalist's release

Saturday March 24, 2012 10:20:37 AM, IANS

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Lucknow: Burying differences persisting for generations, hundreds of Muslims - both Shias and Sunnis - Friday took to the streets here to protest the arrest of journalist Syed Mohammed Kazmi, alleged to be involved in the Israel embassy car bombing in New Delhi last month.

Demanding Kazmi's release, prominent Muslim leaders led a procession comprising members of both sects from the Asafi Masjid till the Shaheed Smarak. They were joined by hundreds of Muslims who gathered at the Asafi mosque, after the Namaz-e-Juma (Friday prayer).

As Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawaad led his contingent, it was joined by another 100 people from Tile Wali Masjid led by Maulana Fazlul Rehman. Some women also joined the protest.

The protesters claimed that Kazmi was implicated and shouted anti-Israel and anti-US slogans.

While the focal point of the "Ehtejaj ka muzahira" (public display of anger) was against the arrest of Kazmi, the crowd also burnt US flags and rallied against the Congress government for their pro-Israeli stance.

Protestors carrying the 'Save Kazmi' placards and banners pledged their support to the jailed journalist.

"Police have framed dubious charges against him and he is being subjected to custodial torture and harassment," said Sibtain Husain, a protestor.

Addressing the gathering, Maulana Kalbe Jawaad urged the people to unite and protest against the Congress government. He alleged that the Delhi Police chief had been acting at the behest of the Israeli intelligence agencies.

Maulana Fazlul Rehman emphasised on the Shia-Sunni unity and warned of bigger protests through the country if Kazmi was not released.

A massive protest has been planned outside the parliament March 26.

Kazmi was arrested by Delhi Police's Special Cell March 7, and accused of providing logistical support to those who attacked the Israeli embassy car in New Delhi last month.





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