Israel upset over 'support' to accused in diplomat attack case

FPDikshit with Kazmi

Israel is upset at the high-profile attendance at the re-launch of an Urdu newspaper last week, where journalist Syed Mohammad Ahmad Kazmi, an accused in the Israeli diplomat attack case, was present as its new editor.

Among those who attended the function on April 17 were Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Rajya Sabha members Ram Vilas Paswan (Lok Janshakti Party) and D P Tripathi (NCP), and National Commission for Minorities chairman Wajahat Habibullah.

While Israel has not lodged an official protest yet, it is learnt that over the last few days, efforts have been under way, through informal consultations, to assuage Israeli concerns.

The publisher and owner of the newspaper, Qaumi Salamati, is Siraj Paracha, father of Kazmi's lawyer Mahmood Paracha. The latter is also Dikshit's lawyer and represented her in the recent defamation case against BJP leader Vijender Gupta.

Dikshit was not available for comment.

The newspaper's website also showcases letters of support from the Prime Minister's communication advisor who has written "on behalf of the PM", BJP leader L K Advani, Vice President Hamid Ansari and Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot among others.

Kazmi, who was arrested after investigations reportedly found that he was in touch with the suspect who is believed to have stuck the magnetic bomb on Israeli diplomat Tal Yehoshua Koren's car on February 13 last year, was granted bail by the Supreme Court in October. He is alleged to have helped the suspect in conducting a recce of the Israeli embassy.

Tal Yehoshua Koren, wife of Israeli defence attache Colonel Yossi Refaelov, and an Indian driver of the embassy vehicle were among four persons injured in the blast. Israel has blamed Iran for the incident.

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