Was Jamim Shah Anti-India with ISI and Underworld Nexus?

A section of Indian media certainly thinks so….but do they have any proof? Yes, it’s true that there were rumors to that effect.

Jamim Shah
The broad-daylight murder of Nepali cable and satellite TV pioneer Jamim Shah could probably be the result of two things: either an underworld revenge or an intelligence undercover operation. Some Indian media reports (as of now) have claimed that Shah was suspected as having associations with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim who is wanted in India, and Pakistani intelligence agency ISI. A section of Indian media that is better known for jumping the gun in matters related to regional security and politics have alleged that Shah’s media outlets were routinely used for anti-India propaganda.

Shah started Nepal’s first cable network, Space Time Network, that is still considered the premium service in Kathmandu, and later the first Nepali satellite TV channel- Channel Nepal- from Bangkok. After his successful TV venture he also started two broadsheet daily newspapers in Nepali (Space Time) and English (Space Time Today). Both newspapers failed commercially and were closed down.

Indian media today blame that Shah used his newspapers and TV network for anti-India propaganda.

“Shah ran the Channel Nepal television station that in 2000 instigated anti-India riots when it falsely reported Bollywood star Hrithik Roshan as saying that he hated Nepalis,” claims a report by carried by Times of India. “Four people died in the violence that followed and scores of Indian shops and businesses came under attack. Though the channel was banned for some time, it was lifted once the furore receded.”

Here’s what India’s government-controlled news agency Press Trust of India wrote about Shah: “The Nepali media mogul is alleged to have links with the underworld, including Dawood Ibrahim and Chota Rajan, allegations he had consistently denied. It was also alleged that his TV channel had received investments from underworld sources.”

It was widely reported at that time that a local Nepali-language weekly from Chitwan had originally carried such report about Roshan and afterwards major media from Kathmandu quoted the same report. Shah may be guilty for his alleged anti-India activities on Nepali soil but that was never verified. Neither we heard of any reports of India sharing its intelligence about Shah’s anti-India activities with Nepali authorities. There are many media outlets in Nepal (particularly newspapers) that are believed to be run (or help run) by the Indian embassy in Kathmandu because they run not only hagiographic reports about everything-India but also negative reports about Pakistan. About Shah too, there were rumors in Kahtmandu about his anti-India things but again they were never challenged in related authorities.

Here’s what TOI says about Shah’s newspapers: “Shah also ran a newspaper, Space Time, that carried anti-India propaganda.”

And about his Dawood, ISI links: “In 2004, he came under the ire of the Indian government who asked Nepal to freeze the assets of Space Time Network, alleging that it was funded by Dawood. Shah is also believed to have had ISI links. However, he had stoutly denied both allegations.”

The Murder

Jamim Shah died after being shot in the heart of the capital today. Two masked gunmen on a motorcycle fired at him in the busy street of Lajimpat, Kathmandu while he was heading towards his home in Panipokhari. Shah, who had sustained injuries in his head and chest, was rushed to nearby TU Teaching Hospital in Maharajgunj where he was declared dead at 3:45 pm. The hospital sources said he was dead by the time he was brought to the hospital.

According to DSP Pradhumna Karki, the assailants apparently shot at the driver before Shah from a close distance. He received three bullets while his chauffeur Malakar got bullet in his thigh. Police claimed the firing was carried out with the intention to murder. Malakar has been undergoing treatment at the same hospital and is said to be out of danger.

Police said the two men in black outfit on a motorbike (Ba 15 Pa 8733) opened indiscriminate fire at Shah’s car (Ba 1 Cha 2151) at around 2:55, while he was returning home from the Yak and Yeti Hotel in Durbar Marg. The assailants came from the opposition direction.

Police spokesperson Bigyan Raj Sharma said search teams have been deployed to hunt down the killers in the possible hideouts.

Shah is survived by his wife and son.

Journalists mourn: The Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ) has expressed deep grief over Shah’s killing. Expressing tribute to late Shah, the FNJ Central Committee wished eternal peace to the departed soul. The FNJ also extended heartfelt condolence to the bereaved family members. Nepal Cable TV Association, and Nepal Cable TV Organization have deplored the inhumane killing of Shah. Issuing a joint press release today, both associations demanded the concerned bodies to immediately investigate into the incident and take action against the culprits as per the law. (source)

Here’s what independent Nepali daily Republica writes about the murder:

Family: The second son of Dr Mohim Shah, a retired senior government officer, is survived by wife Anjali and son Jacky, 24. According to family sources, Anjali had flown to East Timor for a personal visit with two other relatives a few days ago. Jacky, a young musician has been living in US.

The media baron had also courted controversy for his alleged links with Dawood Ibrahim and ISI, which he always denied stoutly. Security officers tally the modus operandi of Shah’s murder with that of Mirza Dilshad Beg 12 years ago, who courted controversy for similar allegations.

Police arrested eight persons on suspicion of involvement in the incident till Sunday evening but an investigative official at Metropolitan Police Range Kathmandu (MPRK) said on condition of anonymity that real culprits could be hiding in ‘star hotels’. According to SP Ganesh KC, chief of MPRK, the shooters had a black complexion and wore black jackets.

Whodunit? While there are widespread suspicions about “international links” behind the homicide, a high level intelligence source said that the killing might be an act of revenge by a local party with whom Jamim had a long animosity. The source even warned another partner of the dispute could meet the same fate. Security officers tally the modus operandi of Shah´s murder with that of Mirza Dilshad Beg 12 years ago, who courted controversy for similar allegations.

Police arrested eight persons on suspicion of involvement in the incident till Sunday evening but an investigative official at Metropolitan Police Range Kathmandu (MPRK) said on condition of anonymity that real culprits could be hiding in ´star hotels´. According to SP Ganesh KC, chief of MPRK, the shooters had a black complexion and wore black jackets.

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Constituent Assembly Has Made Substantial Progress in Constitution Writing

Despite all the chaos and apparent differences of positions/opinions/ideologies of political parties, they have made significant progress in drafting a new constitution. If one looks at the debates that have occurred in the CA over the past year and a half, it is clear that although differences between parties have persisted, there have also been major attempts to discuss issues and attempts to find adequate methods to address them.

There is a tendency in Nepali society that views the proceedings in the Constituent Assembly (CA) with great negativity and foreboding. The differences between the parties on important issues regarding the constitution go so deep, this line of analysis goes, that finding compromise is impossible. Those who believe this never expected the CA process to move as far as it has: to the stage where all 11 thematic committees have submitted their concept papers, they have been discussed and the next task is for the Constitutional Committee (CC) to write a complete draft of the constitution in the next month. Even now, the nay-sayers continue to disparage the process, emphasising the incomplete nature of the concept papers and the major differences between parties that yet remain to be resolved.

This reading is based on the premise that there is broadly one main fault line in the CA: between the Maoists and the ethnic/regional parties on the one side and the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML on the other. This chasm between the two sides is so deep, it is thought, that bridging it is impossible. This is, however, a misreading of the situation. If one looks at the debates that have occurred in the CA over the past year and a half, it is clear that although differences between parties have persisted, there have also been major attempts to discuss issues and attempts to find adequate methods to address them. In many of these cases, in fact, there is agreement on the nature of the problems of Nepali state and society. The differences between parties are only regarding how to resolve them. Continue reading Constituent Assembly Has Made Substantial Progress in Constitution Writing