Swami & Friends: JTSA’s response to Praveen Swami

The story so far…

Jamia Teachers Solidarity Association was  formed after the so-called “encounter” at Batla House in 2008, in which two students of Jamia Millia Islamia were killed. You may remember posts on kafila at the time, questioning the credibility of police accounts of the “encounter” and criticizing the unethical nature of media coverage:

A little less melodrama, a lot more forensics;

The Jamia Nagar encounter: Curiouser and curiouser;

Shame is a revolutionary sentiment;

Some questions about the Delhi encounter.

In April this year, JTSA, which has been demanding an independent probe into the encounter, issued a statement after the post mortem reports of Atif Ameen and Md. Sajid were made public, revealing that the two boys were not  killed in cross fire as Delhi Police claimed:

Batla House ‘Encounter’: Whom is the JP Trauma Centre Shielding?

On April 25, 2010, Countercurrents published another statement by JTSA, titled Praveen Swami’s Not so Fabulous Fables, which began thus:

“If there is one infallible indicator of what the top Indian Intelligence agencies are thinking or cooking up, it is this: Praveen Swami’s articles. Each time the security establishment wishes to push a certain angle to this bomb blast or that, Swami’s articles appear magically, faithfully reflecting the Intelligence reports. After the Batla House ‘encounter’, he launched a tirade against all those who were questioning the police account of the shootout labeling them all ‘Alices in wonderland’. He went so far as to identify ‘precisely’ how Inspector Sharma was shot by claiming that “abdomen wound was inflicted with [Atif] Amin’s weapon and the shoulder hit, by Mohammad Sajid”.

And no sir, Swami’s conclusion was not based on post mortem reports of the killed, fire arm examination report or ballistic report but on this innocent fact: “the investigators believe that…” He certainly brings in a whole new meaning to ‘investigative journalism’. Swami however felt no need to pen an article when the postmortem reports of Atif and Sajid revealed that they had been shot from close range and that neither of them sustained gunshot wounds in the frontal region of the body—an impossibility in the case of a genuine encounter. Was it because the police and the Home Ministry chose to remain quiet after the revelations—hoping that the storm would quietly blow over?
Praveen Swami wrote an injured response via a letter to Annie Zaidi, which too was published on Countercurrents.
And now read on, as JTSA responds to Swami.

JTSA release on May 1, 2010:

We are greatly surprised and also, one may add, a little amused at this display of victimhood on the part of Praveen Swami and his friends. It appears that we are to forget that Swami churns out one column after another in a national daily, week after week, giving detailed expositions of the guilt of those who are still awaiting trials. Ms Annie Zaidi in her letter to the editor of countercurrents, the website where our statement first appeared, seems so exercised by our accusations against Mr. Swami, but it does not concern her when her friend and ex-boss writes, to give just one example, about Abu Bashar, a poor maulana from Azamgarh, as a jihadist. (“Islamism, Modernity and Indian Mujahideen”, March 32, 2010, The Hindu) Does she not realize that Bashar’s trial could be vitiated and prejudiced by Swami’s public indictments?

Our humble email campaign is being pitted as a grave injustice to Swami’s journalistic integrity, but the inequality between JTSA and the might of the Hindu group (and Swami’s clout within it) is apparent to anyone not ‘blinded by faith’. We may add here that Swami is an absolute non-entity for us. JTSA was formed in the aftermath of the Batla House ‘encounter’; when a group of teachers at Jamia Millia Islamia felt that the police story about the ‘encounter; was riddled with holes, and we came together to campaign for truth and justice. Our fight is against the State and its agencies, and the fact that it refused any free and fair enquiry into the ‘encounter’ strengthens our conviction that the State does not wish the truth to be revealed. Our limited interest in Swami is only because he appears to be an apologist for the State. We have no personal interest in Swami, we assure his friends and well wishers. However it is entirely reasonable and justified for anyone to issue public statements against someone’s politics—and Swami’s politics is clearly Statist and strangely unquestioning for an investigative journalist. It is no crime to raise doubts about a certain kind of reportage which merely parrots the investigators’ claims; surely Swami is not alone in pushing the Home Ministry’s agenda, but he certainly is the undisputed king of this. To fear that one’s writings would be ‘challenged by those who don’t agree’ is intellectual dishonesty and crass arrogance at the least.

As for the Swami’s defence, we would like to submit the following:

I

Swami says that it’s no one’s business who the source of his story is; fair enough, though he shouldn’t baulk when he is criticized for consistent reliance on investigators and their dossiers alone. It is the accuracy of information, he says, which should be the issue. Very good! Except how do you measure the accuracy of statements such as these?

a)      “Bored by the religious polemic, though, Bashar’s students [alleged IM bombers] turned instead to Anurag Kashyap’s movie Black Friday…” (“Islamism, Modernity and Indian Mujahideen”, March 32, 2010, The Hindu)

b)      “Early in the summer of 2004, investigators say, the core members of the network that was later to call itself the Indian Mujahideen met at Bhatkal’s beachfront to discuss their plans. Iqbal Shahbandri and Bhatkal-based cleric Shabbir Gangoli are alleged to have held ideological classes; the group also took time out to practice shooting with airguns. Bawa had overall charge of arrangements — a task that illustrated his status as the Bhatkal brothers’ most trusted lieutenant.” (The Rebirth of the Indian Mujahideen”, 19th April 2010, The Hindu)

One could provide a n endless list of such assertions that Swami makes. The only source of this supposedly accurate information can be chargesheets (which to repeat what we said in the last post, are only chargesheets, not proven guilt) or custodial confessions.

On the question of the new footage, why does the Pune Police continue to be unimpressed with ATS’s naming of Bhatkal? Why do they say that the ATS is after “usual suspects’? (see http://epaper.mailtoday.in/Details.aspx?boxid=2310463&id=35313&issuedate=1242010)

II

On the Batla House ‘encounter’, Swami responds thus:

The National Human Rights Commission studied the same evidence I did—and more which was not available when I wrote.  It says:  “…swabs which were taken from the right hands of Mohd Atif Ameen and Modh Sajid by the doctors at the time of post mortem in AIIMS were sent in sealed bottles to CFSL for dermal nitrate tests in the laboratory. The same were found to contain gun shot residue. This conclusively establishes that Mohd Atif Ameen and Mohd Sajid had both used fire arms at the time of incident”. [5]  Unless it believes that the NHRC is an intelligence agency, the allegation made by the JTSA is untrue.

We have maintained and reiterate it even more strongly now, after the publication of the post mortem reports, that the National Human Rights Commission studied the evidence placed before it selectively, and willfully ignored all contrary evidence. The only so-called clinching evidence against the two slain boys is the presence of gun shot residue on their right hands, which in NHRC’s words quoted by Swami, “conclusively establishes that Atif and Sajid had both used fire arms at the time of incident.” However the presence of Gun shot residue (GSR) is hardly ‘conclusive’ evidence. For several years now, forensic scientists have cautioned against the enthusiasm of prosecutors to push for GSR as crucial evidence, for these reasons:

1)      GSR is like a cloud of invisible particles, which can be inadvertently shaken off by the shooter with the shake of a hand, even a single swift movement or rubbing of hands etc. It easily transfers to clothes or car seats etc.

2)      It is entirely possible for non-shooters to be contaminated by GSR. Police vehicles are particularly prone to GSR contamination and non shooters can likely acquire GSR traveling in vehicles ferrying shooters, or in which shooters have previously travelled. Indeed, experiments conducted by forensic scientists have revealed that even those non-shooters who entered a room a few minutes after there had been firing acquired GSR.

3)      Particles that are ostensibly peculiar to GSR can be produced in ways other than fire shots, for example particles similar to GSR can be found in brake linings.

(Among others, see New Scientist, 23 November 2005, magazine issue 2527/ http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg18825274.300-why-we-cannot-rely-on-firearm-forensics.html?full=true)

So really, GSR is hardly the kind of clinching evidence that the NHRC, and following it, Swami would have us believe. Indeed, as the post mortem reports clearly demonstrate, the two boys were shot from a close range, making it that much easier for GSR to be deposited on their on their bodies.

Second, he responds to our charge of refusing to comment on the Batla House ‘encounter’ in light of the post-mortem reports:

I didn’t.  I still don’t.   Having studied the available evidence, the NHRC concluded: “In such circumstances, the action taken by the police party in which Mohd. Atif Ameen and Mohd. Sajid received fatal injuries and died is fully protected by law”. [6] Parenthetically, I note that members of the Facebook group I believe the 2008 Batla House encounter was FAKE  insist that “not only the JTSA report, but also NHRC (a statutory body of GOI) says that the encounter is fake”. [7]  Either these people have not read the NHRC report—or are lying.

At the cost of repeating ourselves, we would like to place the following facts:

The NHRC’s ‘available evidence’ consisted of the statements of senior police officers:

1) R.R. Upadhayay, Additional Commissioner of Police, Vigilance;

2) Satish Chandra, Special Commissioner of Police (Vigilance), Delhi;

3) Neeraj Thakur, DCP (Crime & Rly.), Delhi;

4) Karnail Singh, Joint Commissioner of Police, Special Cell, Delhi.

These are the very same people who were being supposedly investigated. Not a single neighbour from Batla House or family member of the deceased was called for deposition to verify or cross check the police version despite them having filed applications wishing to testify before the Commission; the NHRC did not even bother to visit the site of the ‘encounter’. Mr. Swami may not find it of interest that the NHRC did not deem it necessary to investigate the presence of non-firearm ante-mortem injuries; neither did it exercise the NHRC that the two boys did not receive a single bullet injury in the frontal region of their bodies—or that such evidence does not square with the statements made by the senior police officers’ descriptions of the sequence of events in their notes to the NHRC.

III

On our raising of Swami’s linking of Bhatkal and IM to the Bangalore stadium blasts, Swami says:

Leaving aside the minor irony here—the JTSA’s great faith in an embarrassed BJP politician—there are two facts that need to be recorded.  In pursuit of the government’s “betting mafia” story, the Karnataka Police arrested five Uttar Pradesh suspects.  Those suspects were cleared of any involvement in the attacks by the Uttar Pradesh Police. [8]  Second, I clearly identified that suspicions directed at Mohammad Zarar Siddi Bawa, a.k.a. Yasin Bhatkal, were based on what investigators were telling me.  Similarity in bomb design is quite evidently reasonable ground for suspicion—though it is not of course proof.  Since I have no independent expertise in bomb forensics, the information was clearly attributed to investigators.  Its up to readers whether they want to believe them or not.

Nobody expects Swami to have independent expertise in bomb forensics, but independent reporting certainly. There were other journalists who were not buying the investigators’ story that the presence of easily available samay clocks could be proof alone of the omnipresent IM’s hand. For instance:

“But as far as the suspects are concerned, it is turning out to be an old game for the Karnataka police. They have zeroed in on Riyaz Bhatkal and Bilal—who have been blamed for any terror attack on any part of the state for the past four years.

The police do not have any evidence to link Bhatkal to the Bangalore blasts. The only premise on which their argument is based is the “similarity in planning the attacks”. Karnataka police’s inability to make a breakthrough in the case has drawn flak.

“It is highly intriguing that the police have not made any major breakthrough. They are trying to find scapegoats and hence naming the usual suspects,” said Rakesh Para, a former intelligence officer of the Karnataka police.” (http://indiatoday.intoday.in/site/Story/93651/India/IPL+betting+mafia+behind+twin+blasts:+K’taka+HM.html)

There were also others who were willing to cite alternate theories:

“Sources in Bangalore said the Indian Mujahideen is being linked to the April 17 bomb episode outside the cricket stadium largely on account of the presence of the clocks. “But as these clocks are easily available all over the country it is not easy to corroborate only on this basis or the usage of ammonium nitrate gel as the explosive,” said the sources.

Karnataka DGP Ajai Kumar Singh said: ‘We are looking at the similarities between these blasts and blasts in other parts of the country. There are however a lot of dissimilarities between these blasts and the July 25 serial blasts in Bangalore’.”

( http://www.indianexpress.com/news/clock-in-stadium-bombs-points-at-im/609027/1)

It is of course up to the readers to decide whether to believe the investigators or not, but surely by obfuscating other view points, Swami is telling his readers that the investigators information is the sole authoritative version of affairs.

On the link between SIMI and IM and terrorism, he further writes:

I’m a little uncertain here about precisely what the allegation is here—but think the JTSA has some problem with my suggesting that SIMI and the Indian Mujahideen are linked to terrorism.  I’m in good company, I think, in this belief.  Javed Anand had a must-read article on the issue some time back. [9] Yoginder Sikand had some good background earlier. [10]   If you’re willing to fork out a few bucks for more detail, do read C.  Christine Fair on the subject. [11]  This is just a tiny part of a mass of literature—not including charge-sheets, trial records and so on—on the subject.  You don’t need access to the Intelligence Services to access it—just a few hours in a good library

Yes indeed, we have a problem with Swami’s linking of SIMI and IM’s connection with terrorism, but in particular with his linking of these groups to the stadium blasts. And we are not in bad company either. In August 2008, Justice Geeta Mittal, who headed the High Court Tribunal on the ban on SIMI asked the Centre to produce any “fresh material” to “connect” the organisation to “bomb blasts, riots, destructive activities”. She said: “You say that SIMI is connected to bomb blasts, riots, destructive activities. Place specific material before me, you (Centre) cannot presume their involvement.”  JTSA finds SIMI’s ideology abhorrent, particularly its views on women, but that does not mean that we are willing to let them be hanged on charges of terror when there is no evidence to prove it.

Second, the IM’s links with SIMI are tenuous. The DGP of Gujarat, P.C. Pande provided a semantic link between SIMI and IM:

“You remove S and I from ‘SIMI’ and you get IM, for Indian Mujahideen.” (Ahmedabad, Aug 16 2008, IANS).

Well, it could as easily be argued that if you remove ‘B’ from IB and supplant it with ‘M’, you get IM.

The only proof of this shadowy organisation’s existence are the dubious emails sent in the aftermath of the blasts claiming responsibility, and the lengthy chargesheets filed by the various police departments.

We did not see any link between the life story about a supposed IM operative and the stadium blast, neither did Swami provide any in his rejoinder. As for trial records, Tehelka has done a series on SIMI which can be cited and which prove Swami’s confident assertions utterly wrong. These are also easily accessible on the Internet. Moreover, none of the IM trials have even begun for Swami to cite. As for forking out a few bucks for detail, don’t bother, because Christine Fair approvingly cites among others, Praveen Swami himself! Talk about friends in need, friends indeed!

We cannot speak for either the Facebook Page I Believe the 2008 Batla House Encounter was fake or the page, Shut up Praveen Swami as none of us are members of either of the pages, but cannot help noticing that the Shut Up Praveen Swami page was hacked into and destroyed on 28th April 2010. When its creator, re-started the page on the same night, it was again hacked into on 30th April 2010.

PS: a member of the JTSA did indeed email the release to the Hindu on this email id openpage@hindu.co.in on 27th April 2010. We would be grateful to the editors of the Hindu were they to publish the entire text of the exchange, including our rejoinder to Swami’s response. It is a little unfair to ask us to circulate Swami’s email, as the Chief of Bureau asks us to in the name of ‘fairness’, when they have a newspaper and a weekly magazine at their disposal, which has always given Swami a free run.

17 thoughts on “Swami & Friends: JTSA’s response to Praveen Swami”

  1. When two crude bombs went off outside the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium ahead of the match between Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore on 17th April, the Karnataka Home Minister V.S. Acharya announced that the state Police were investigating the alleged involvement of the cricket betting lobby. He forcefully denied any link with the earlier blasts in the city in 2008.But for the fiction terror journalism promulgated by Praveen swami who is eagerly provided space in the national daily called “the Hindu” , its not the betting racket but the handiwork of muslim terrorists. “the Hindu claims to be non partition and non political in its approach to news except for the fantacies which suits the script of Dan Browns ‘da vinci code’ suspense stories by Mr. Praveen swami. This fictionalization of stories is prejudicing common mans mind into belief even before the law has taken its course.It hampers justice and leads to victimization, which now is rampant by the state machinery. “the Hindu” should stop promoting fictions by praveen swami in the interest of its reputation and its standing among the thinking class of india. If not it is bound to loose its credibility

  2. I am posting here Rajesh Ramakrishnan’s email on the FOIL list:

    “When news of magistrate Tamang’s report on the false encounter involving the killing of Ishrat Jahan was published in The Hindu, I had written to the newspaper’s Editor-in-Chief about earlier articles by Praveen Swami about the `encounter’. Since no reply was forthcoming, a month later I forwarded the letter by e-mail to the Readers’ Editor. That was in October 2009. I am still waiting for a response. I am not interested in pulling up Praveen Swami, I only hope that journalists as a professional group will debate and evolve norms for transparent reporting and proper editorial scrutiny.”

    This was the original letter Rajesh sent to The Hindu, which was not published:

    Dear Sir
    It was shocking to read in The Hindu yesterday that the young Ishrat Jahan and three others were murdered in cold blood by the Gujarat police in connivance with top police officers of the state. The Hindu has erred grievously in its previous reporting of this false encounter. In a three-part series published between 26 and 28 June 2004, Praveen Swami categorically stated “…the group was indeed engaged in reconnaissance for a suicide-squad attack on Hindu fundamentalist leaders but the mission was monitored by intelligence agencies at each stage and infiltrated from its outset.”

    The reports portrayed Ishrat Jahan as a Lashkar recruit, driven to seek revenge for the State’s failure to provide justice for the victims of the violence in Gujarat in 2002. Swami called the false encounter a police ambush and dismissed all doubts then raised about the veracity of the police version. I am extremely angry at being so totally misled by Swami’s reports. I am aghast as a long-time reader of The Hindu that the newspaper’s editorial scrutiny processes failed to apprehend such an egregious mistake. Mr. Swami and The Hindu owe apologies to the families of those killed as well as to readers. The Hindu needs to tone up its internal processes to regain the credibility it has lost with readers.

    I am sure you will do what is necessary to rectify the error.”

  3. 1. It’s interesting that howls of protest and wild allegations of conspiracy theories on the part of the State are seen as a ‘campaign for truth and justice’, but civilized, rational dialogue on the merit as well as the level of accusations against an individual are seen as a ‘display of victimhood’. The JTSA denies any personal attack on Swami and insists its arguments are on the truth of his writing alone. And yet, when Swami relies on the work of an eminent academic, Christine Fair, it is rubbished because she has also cited his work approvingly elsewhere! Her work and years of research suddenly pale into insignificance, it seems. I suppose it’s easier to discredit people at the threshold than engage with their arguments, but intellectual laziness is not something I would expect of organizations like the JTSA or its supporters such as Sarai, and I have to say, I find this disappointing.

    2. It’s also surprising that a supposed difference in might between the JTSA and The Hindu is offered as some kind of justification for the maliciousness of the attack mounted by the JTSA. Identities, it seems, matter more than the truth, and people will rail against that state of affairs when it suits them, and use it to their advantage at other times.

    3. Without claiming to speak for Ms. Zaidi, her blog post indicated that she was exercised not by the accusations, but the veracity behind them, the lack of effort made to ascertain the same, and the lack of dignity in the entire attack.

    4. The JTSA thinks it is unfair to be asked to circulate Swami’s reply along with its accusations, but fails to see the irony in asking The Hindu to publish not just its allegations but its rejoinder as well. Being a responsible publication, I’ve no doubt the Hindu will have no hesitation in giving equal space to both, but the sentence says a lot about the JTSA’s own integrity, expectations and politics of victimhood.

    5. As for the Facebook group referred to, let me clarify that the same was not hacked into, but reported for the abuse it was indulging in, and was rightly shut down by the administrators of Facebook. Further, it’s interesting that despite JTSA claiming that none of its members was part of the Facebook group, they seem to have intimate knowledge of when it was taken off the site, when there were attempts to restart, who its creator is etc. Perhaps the fact that its list of members included individuals associated with Sarai, a group that has been faithfully circulating JTSA’s releases with promises of more to come, would shed light on this.

    6. The JTSA’s rejoinder says: ‘It is of course up to the readers to decide whether to believe the investigators or not, but surely by obfuscating other view points, Swami is telling his readers that the investigators information is the sole authoritative version of affairs.’ We assume this means as opposed to other sources of writing referred to approvingly in the JTSA release, perhaps because their politics is seen to coincide with that of the JTSA and its endorsers. Let’s also assume, for the sake of argument, that Swami’s writing is guilty of obfuscation. How about hearing alternative facts, backed by evidence? Regarding Batla House, the JTSA says “Not a single neighbour from Batla House or family member of the deceased was called for deposition to verify or cross check the police version despite them having filed applications wishing to testify before the Commission”. Please explain how that would be relevant evidence, unless the people referred to were eyewitnesses or otherwise had intimate knowledge of what went on. How is the mere fact of them having been related to the deceased relevant in terms of evidence. Further, how is Swami to be blamed if the NHRC methods are faulty as claimed? Swami is merely reporting that as per the NHRC, certain conclusions emerge, which he brings out. What part of this statement is untrue? In the same vein, when assertions or versions of events are sought to be questioned, on the ground that they rely only on chargesheets or custodial confessions, where is the alternative version, and what relevant evidence is that based on?

    7. On the one hand, the JTSA questions the independence of the judiciary in saying that Bashar’s trial could be vitiated by what Swami writes, on the other, it relies on the independence and veracity of the very same judiciary when it comes to defending SIMI, despite the fact that the matter is pending before the Supreme Court in appeal, and the order lifting the ban has been stayed.

    8. The entire exchange seems to reveal a level of discomfort with Swami as an independent journalist who reports on information made available to him from a variety of sources and attributes it accordingly, without passing it off as the gospel truth, unlike other journalists, who are expected to “buy” or not buy stories of investigators.

    9. When the JTSA says that its fight is against the State and its agencies, it makes it quite clear that truth and fact-finding exercises into each individual action and incident are not important; what is important to the JTSA whether you fall into the pro-State or anti-State slot, no matter that these slots as envisaged in this manner contain several mutually contradictory positions. Without being able to slot you, it seems, it is impossible to rationally dissect your argument. Thankfully, Swami’s brand of journalism doesn’t fall into that trap, otherwise we would perhaps see the emergence of labels such as ‘apologists for terror’ as a counter to that of being an apologist for the State. The allegation is especially odd, when you consider that Swami has on different occasions, faced equally the ire of the left and the right, separatists, the army, the Home Ministry, etc. – the list goes on. This, to my mind, only indicates his independence as a journalist and speaks of his integrity.

    10. ‘To fear that one’s writings would be ‘challenged by those who don’t agree’ is intellectual dishonesty and crass arrogance at the least.’ True enough, but Swami’s response establishes he is not guilty of such fear. But what is also true is that those who erase the space for reasonable people to debate freely, without fear of character assassination, are guilty of impoverishing the country’s intellectual climate, and on that, one wishes the same endorsement could be given to organizations like the JTSA or Sarai which is circulating its releases as unquestioningly as it accuses Swami of doing with the Home Ministry’s ‘agenda’.

  4. Whatever maybe the context of Praveen swam(IM) to write such a debauched article. It still needs authenticity before embarking on feeding the common man as someone rightly put “da vinci code” suspense articulation. Cant we see how much it hampers justice. If at all such stories were to be given space as mihir argues to overcome “challenged by those who dont agree”, is only proves a can of hypocrisy when no clarifications are furthered from the author of such so called ‘independent journalism’ on his theories from informed sources every time proved wrong by court of the land. If swami’s propositions are just recalling of feeded information from “informed sources”, a national daily like ‘the hindu’ should pass is on to its readers as news (from informed sources and reported by swami) rather than editorials and expert opinions. Additionaly, if the publication was serious enough to deciminate truth, it should be bold enough to publish the counter arguments which i never happened to see in any of its editions. I fear the hindu’s identity with truth seems eroding.(Identity does matter mihir)

  5. If one writes anything on Hindutva outfits based on what police reveal that is fine and no questions will be asked.No questions will be asked even if some allegations are not true or just made up to sensationalise .But in case of writing on islamic terrorism or such terrorist organizations only 100% verified, proved and expert certified views should be written.Swamy did not follow this rule of ‘secular’ journalism . Of course the ‘gloden’ default rule is dont even acknowledge that it exists or it is a serious issue. He was critical of both islamic terrorism and hindutva terrorism.He wrote about the origins of communal clashes in Hyderabad, about the cultural censorship by fundamentalists in Kashmir.

    Regarding SIMI the story did not stop with the observations of Justice Gita.The Supreme Court stayed her judgment. JTSA states
    ‘JTSA finds SIMI’s ideology abhorrent, particularly its views on women, but that does not mean that we are willing to let them be hanged on charges of terror when there is no evidence to prove it’
    Fantastic, will the same logic be applicable to Abhinav Bharat also.

    This is not the first time Swami has been targeted like this. A muslim organization in Tamil Nadu called him ‘intellectual terrorist’. One may not agree in all instances with two Swami/ys- Praveen and Dr.Subramanian, nor one need to support the causes they espouse.Both are necessary for the sake of real secularism in this country.Even if Praveen had committed errors or overlooked facts or had been let down by his sources, his contributions cannot be rejected in toto.

    Here comes to disclaimer: I have not read the whole story on this issue- the ‘truth’ as ‘alleged’ by two sides and mutual accusations. Hence no view is expressed on that matter.

  6. Perhaps some independent group can go through all the stories and articles by him and check how true and accurate they are.

    ‘We may add here that Swami is an absolute non-entity for us. JTSA was formed in the aftermath of the Batla House ‘encounter’; when a group of teachers at Jamia Millia Islamia felt that the police story about the ‘encounter; was riddled with holes, and we came together to campaign for truth and justice. Our fight is against the State and its agencies, and the fact that it refused any free and fair enquiry into the ‘encounter’ strengthens our conviction that the State does not wish the truth to be revealed. Our limited interest in Swami is only because he appears to be an apologist for the State.’

    It is strange that JTSA has taken so much effort against an ‘absolute non-entity’ and what difference would it be whether such a non-entity is an apologist for the state or not. Is JTSA trying to tell media and journalists that anyone who agrees with the state or does not buy the arguments of JTSA will be labelled as an apologist for the state.

  7. Praveen Swami is known for h is investigative journalism especially dealing with terrorism. In the context of false and misleading stories that appeared on ‘the Hindu’ national newspaper written by praveen swami, most of it have been found to be just fiction. The allega…tions he made citing intelligence sources have proved to be false. This has lead to victimisation of a certain community. More importantly it has ripped up public opinion against the accused, prounced them guilty of crime even before they could be tried in the court of law. Those accused including their near family, relatives and friends had to go through stigmatisation and still haunt them with the same ghost even after being proved innocense. Should not the author of such false and biased story telling be sued for his crimes against humanity? How can such a person be left free? Isnt he equally responsible for ishrat jahan demonisation and subsequent malignign of her character and influencing justice and public opinion against her family?

  8. Swami’s writing over the years discredits itself but for the poster above citing
    “eminent academic, Christine Fair”, some news from the real world:

    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/05/11-9
    Georgetown Professor: ‘Drones Are Not Killing Innocent Civilians’ in Pakistan

    by Jeremy Scahill

    I’m not sure how many of you caught the segment last Friday on the Dylan Ratigan show on MSNBC featuring Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer, a 25 year army veteran and former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Task Force STRATUS IVY and Georgetown University professor Christine Fair of the Center for Peace and Security Studies (CPASS). The two were discussing the alleged failed Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad and potential connections to the Taliban in Pakistan. In the discussion, Lt. Col. Shaffer raised the issue of US drone strikes against Pakistan, which Shahzad reportedly has said were part of his motivation for the attempted bombing. “The Taliban are more motivated than ever to come at us,” said Shaffer, saying that “the Predator program is having the same effect in Afghanistan two years ago in killing innocents” that it is now having in Pakistan.

    Professor Fair, who has also worked for the RAND Corporation and as a political officer to the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan in Kabul, acted dumbfounded at the idea that the US drone strikes kill any civilians. “I take extreme exception top the way my colleague characterized the drones,” Fair said. “Actually the drones are not killing innocent civilians. Many of those reports are coming from deeply unreliable and dubious Pakistani press reports, which no one takes credibly on any other issue except for some reason on this issue. There’ve actually been a number of surveys on the ground, in FATA [Federally Administered Tribal Areas]. The residents of FATA generally welcome the drone strikes because they know actually who’s being killed. They’re very much aware and who’s being killed and who’s not.”

  9. Another facebook group “theHindu”should stop terror fiction from Praveen swami, has been destroyed. I wonder the so called bold journalist who speaks of freedom of expression is being so highly protected that cannot digest even small criticism for his writings. This shows the kind of narrow prejudiced mindset that is prevailing. These perverts cannot tolerate any dissent against their fiction, proves beyond doubt the purported stories framed to suit certain hidden objectives. Welcome friends, we are now living in zombieland, another zimbabve is evolving inside india.

  10. From whatever I’ve read so far, it does seem like the JSTA’s rebuttals are driven more by opinion & fiction than facts.
    Swami on the other hand seems to refer to sources instead of opinion.

    Whatever cause theJSTA are espousing isn’t being helped at all by their shoddy approach.

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