IN the second week of April, the Urdu daily, 'Qaumi Salamati', was relaunched in the capital. It was not an ordinary event. The editor of the paper is Syed Mohammad Ahmad Kazmi, a senior journalist who had been booked under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act last year for his alleged role in an attack on an Israeli diplomat. Kazmi secured bail in October 2012 after the sessions court found little merit in denying him bail, especially after he continued to be incarcerated beyond six months, which was the period under which anyone could be detained under the Act. “I am confident that I have got a chance to work again independently and for communal harmony. The paper is not for the Muslim community alone,” Kazmi told Frontline.
Dispelling rumours about the financiers of the paper, the owner of the paper, Siraj Paracha, quipped at the relaunch: “My friends called me and said that there were rumours that Iran had financed the paper. I say that Iran is a small nation; even the U.S.A. cannot buy me. Qaumi Salamati is not only the voice of the Muslims but of every Hindustani in this country.”
The paper received all-round support from representatives of political parties too. Apart from Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, who was present as chief guest, Rajya Sabha members Ram Vilas Paswan (Lok Janshakti Party), D.P. Tripathi (Nationalist Congress Party), Wajahat Habibullah, chairperson, National Commission for Minorities, and senior journalist Saeed Naqvi spoke on a range of issues, including the need for a sensitive and responsible media.
T. K. Rajalakshmi