Court frees Indian journalist held on terrorism charges

Police arrested Muthi-Ur-Rahman Siddiqui on August 29, 2012, and accused him of being involved in a terror plot to kill Hindu nationalist leaders and journalists in Bangalore, in the southern state of Karnataka. Siddiqui worked as a reporter for the Deccan Herald and covered higher education.

Siddiqui was held at the Parappana Agrahara Central Jail under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, which allows for detention of up to six months without charge, news reports said. The journalist said later that he had been forced to sign 30 to 40 blank sheets of paper while in custody, which were used by police to fabricate a case against him.

In November, the National Investigation Agency took over the case from the Bangalore police, news reports said. The agency announced that it had found no evidence against Siddiqui, and on February 23, 2013, a court ordered the journalist’s immediate release.

At a press conference on February 26, 2013, Siddiqui told local journalists that he had been targeted because he was Muslim. He also criticized the police for their bias against minorities and said that some news outlets had branded him the “mastermind” of a terror cell.

The case has raised sharp questions about the credibility of the Bangalore police, news reports said.