Kerala scribe to take legal action after right wing paper falsely calls her blast accused

KK Shahina of The Federal has vowed to take legal action against ‘Janmabhoomi’ for publishing libel against her.
Kerala journalist KK Shahina
Kerala journalist KK Shahina

A Kerala journalist has said she will sue right-wing newspaper 'Janmabhoomi,' for falsely naming her as ‘an accused in the 2008 Bengaluru bomb blasts.’ The scribe who faced the libel from the Kochi-based newpaper is KK Shahina, a senior editor at The Federal. Janmabhoomi published the libellous story after Shahina’s detailed interview with LDF Minister KT Jaleel, a Kerala Minister who is in the eye of controversy, after he was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate for his connections with the UAE consulate.

“Jaleel, who said that he was not interested in speaking to media persons, spilled all truths and untruths to a Jihadi journalist when she called. KK Shahina, an accused in the Bengaluru blast case, had interviewed Jaleel,” Janmabhoomi’s report read. Reacting to the mistruths, Shahina said she will be moving legally against the newspaper, that ideologically aligns with the ruling BJP. 

“I have spoken to my lawyer regarding this libel. This is a deliberate attempt to discredit me and my work. I have no connection with the Bengaluru bomb blast case. This is not the first time that they have called me an accused in the case. I have ignored it so far, but this time I will be taking legal action,” Shahina tells TNM. 

Back in 2011, KK Shahina was one of the first Indian journalists to be charged under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in connection with her interview of  two witnesses in the 2008 bomb blasts in Bengaluru. Through her investigative report, which was published in Tehelka, Shahina said there were lapses in the police investigations in the 2008 Bengaluru blasts and that evidence offered by the police for arresting the alleged mastermind behind the blast Abdul Nasser Madani, a Kerala politician from PDP, in the case was both fragile and forced. 

Following the report, the Karnataka police booked Shahina under the UAPA - a counter-terrorism law - and two counts of the Indian Penal Code dealing with criminal intimidation, which could attract upto seven years in prison. Several civil rights groups and journalists protested against the blatant human rights violations and attack on freedom of expression. 

KT Jaleel, Higher Education and Minorities Minister in the Pinarayi-led LDF government, has been questioned by the Enforcement Directorate for his alleged involvement with the gold smuggling case. Over the last few days, opposition parties have demanded Jaleel’s resignation and have staged protests across Kerala. 

A first time minister in the ruling-LDF government, Jaleel had started his political career with the Students Islamic Movement of India or SIMI, an Islamic outfit first banned in 2001, for its alleged link to terror activities. Jaleel later moved to the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) and then the ruling CPI(M). 

In her interview Shahina asked Jaleel about his past with SIMI, to which the minister replied that “people move forward” in life.

“I did not join Lashkar-e-Taiba after that. I joined the League and then the CPI(M). People find it difficult to digest this,” he tells in the interview.

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