जलेस की पत्रिका नया-पथ पढने के लिये क्लिक करे!

गुरुवार, 18 सितंबर 2008

Spy comes to SAHMAT

Now the state is spying on SAHMAT, India's leading secular platform for artists.

New Delhi, Sept. 12: A “spy” sat staring at his polished shoes locked up in the small office of cultural group Sahmat for almost an hour today, after hamhanded snooping blew his cover and gave a telling insight into the working of the Intelligence Bureau.

“I am an FCRA (foreign contribution regulation) official and am here on official duty,” Praveen Sharma (name changed) insisted, fidgeting with his phone.

But Rajendra Prasad, the Sahmat member he had first approached with the introduction and a long list of queries, was not buying this any more. He had called police.

Sahmat, set up in January 1989 after actor, poet and political and street theatre activist Safdar Hashmi was killed performing a play 20km from Delhi, brings together a cross-section of people to defend democracy and freedom of expression.

In white T-shirt and grey pants, the bespectacled Sharma had walked into its office posing as an FCRA official under the home ministry.

“He wanted to know every detail of the organisation, and I gave it to him. I didn’t even ask for his identity card. He initially started with who the members of the organisation were and also details of the kind of work we do. He asked me if Sahmat took foreign funds for their work, and when I said no, he said if I was offered, would I take it? I had no problems answering those questions,” Prasad said.

Then he named two people, who he said were connected with the Maharashtra blasts, and asked me if I knew them. I realised he was asking me if our group had connections with terrorists. That’s what made me suspicious. I asked for his identity card and he just flashed some card at me. I asked him which blasts he was talking about, and he couldn’t even answer that,” the Sahmat member said.

Soon, Sharma had been locked up and the police called.

“It’s the recent blasts in Maharashtra,” Sharma said in answer to this correspondent’s question as he tried to contact his bosses.

So where was his office? Sharma didn’t remember.

When the police arrived, the mystery was solved. “He is with the Intelligence Bureau and it was his mistake that he barged into Sahmat’s office and intimidated them. Sahmat can officially register a case if they want,” the Parliament Street SHO, Vijay Chandel, said before the police took him away.

It is not uncommon for officials of the Intelligence Bureau, the country’s internal spy agency, to make discreet enquiries about organisations. But to go about it as Sharma did provides a clue perhaps to the intelligence failures blamed for blast after blast.

“What’s completely unacceptable is that at the time of the incident, there were two artistes in the room — young women, one from Pakistan and the other a Bangladeshi, who are in the country for an international art workshop. He made such a fuss about their nationalities that they ran away from the spot,” said photographer Ram Rahman.

Courtesy: Commualism Watch
Read more: http://www.pragoti.org/node/2048

1 टिप्पणी:

Ek ziddi dhun ने कहा…

han ye system aatank faila rahe sangh pariwaar ko naheen dekhta.