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Jamim Shah Murder Coverage Invites Threat to Nepali Newspapers

Kantipur and Kathmandu Post editors and publisher threatened

For the Record: Today’s Kathmandu Post and Kantipur, Nepal’s largest English and Nepali language daily newspapers, have reported, on their front pages, that their editors and publisher have received telephone and email threats from unidentified persons to stop newspapers’ coverage on Jamim Shah murder. Two unidentified gunmen had killed Shah, a controversial media personality, at Lazimpat in the Capital on Sunday (7 Feb) afternoon.

Here’s what The Post writes:

The chairman and editors of The Kathmandu Post and Kantipur received threats from unidentified sources to stop the newspapers’ coverage on the killing of media entrepreneur Jamim Shah. Shah was killed on Sunday afternoon by unidentified gunmen here in Lazimpat.

Chairman and Managing Director of Kantipur Publications Kailash Sirohiya received an email on Friday (yesterday) to that effect. Editors of the Post and Kantipur, Akhilesh Upadhyay and Sudheer Sharma received threats over telephone on Thursday and Friday.

“Stop immediately the kind of news coverage you have been giving to Jamim’s killing, or else you will face serious consequences within 15 days,” said a caller to Sharma. The caller used both English and Hindi. Upadhyay was asked to “shut up or we will make you shut up”.

The email sent to Sirohiya asks him to stop the coverage on Shah or face consequences within 15 days.

Pakistani newspaper Daily Mail too reports that its editor got threats from an unidentified caller. It writes: “Unidentified callers call DM offices to threaten Editor-in-Chief to stop publishing reports against India & RAW or to get ready to face Jamim Shah like fate”

FJN Condemns

The Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) today strongly denounced the threats issued to the chairman of the Kantipur Publications and the editors of The Kathmandu Post and Kantipur. Issuing a statement, the FNJ central committee said the threats given to them over the issue of covering news on slain media entrepreneur Jamin Shah has drawn the media body’s serious attention. Continue reading Jamim Shah Murder Coverage Invites Threat to Nepali Newspapers

Jamim Shah Murder: A Statement from Delhi?

[The Jamim Shah murder] is a statement from New Delhi that it will not let off anyone it perceives as hostile to its national interests.– A senior Nepali police officer

By Mukul Humagain, Anil Giri and Baburam Kharel

The Indian underworld gang run by Chhota Rajan could be behind Sunday’s killing of media entrepreneur Jamim Shah, Nepali police said, adding that it was zeroing in on the killers and the mastermind behind the killing. According to Superintendent of Police Ganesh K. C., chief of Metropolitan Police Range, Kathmandu, the role of international criminals has been established and the killers will soon be nabbed. “Shah’s murder has been carried out by someone from the Chhota Rajan gang,” K. C. told the Kathmandu Post. He said the phone calls made to Cable Television Association and Avenues TV on Monday (yesterday) and interrogations of more than a dozen people indicate that the killers had arrived in Kathmandu on a ‘mission’ to kill Shah.

Call details of Bharat Nepali who claimed responsibility for Shah’s killing obtained from Nepal Telecom and leads from people close to Shah and Yunus Ansari (who was arrested a few weeks ago for his alleged involvement in a fake Indian currency racket) pointed out the involvement of the Chhota Rajan group, according to police. Bharat had claimed that he was responsible for the murder because Jamim was involved in anti-India activities.

Interestingly, it was Rajendra Sadashiv Nikhale, aka Chhota Rajan, who claimed responsibility for the killing of Mirza Dilshad Beg, a lawmaker, in Kathmandu in 1998.  Rajan had offered similar reasons for the killing: Beg’s anti-Indian position.

Shah’s murder took place 13 months after police arrested Rajan’s three hitmen in Kathmandu. All three — Ganesh Shah alias ‘Tinku’, Anil Baniya alias ‘Vikky’ and Mukesh Kumar Yadav — were arrested in March. Police had disclosed then that they were planning to kill “some high-profile people.” The hitmen were arrested with sophisticated weapons.

Apart from the government formed 5-member judicial panel to probe Shah’s murder, Nepal Police has formed a taskforce led by DIG Rajendra Singh Bhandari. SSP Rana Bahadur Chand, SP Milan Basnet and DSPs Diwas Udas and Jagat Man Shrestha. Likewise, the Office of Metropolitan Police Commissioner has formed a five-member probe team led by SSP Madhav Nepal.

Uncanny parallels between Beg’s and Shah’s deaths

“[The Jamim murder] is a statement from New Delhi that it will not let off anyone it perceives as hostile to its national interests.”– A Nepali police officer

By Akhilesh Upadhyay
Editor, The Kathmandu Post

The gruesome murder on Sunday of media entrepreneur Jamim Shah, 47, has brought back chilling memories of June 29, 1998. On that day, Mirza Dilshad Beg, a sitting lawmaker, was gunned down outside his home in Siphal, Kathmandu. It was a dark night and the hillside neighbourhood looked darker still due to load-shedding, when we (reporters and photographers from Kantipur and The Kathmandu Post) arrived at the scene, soon after the 9.30 hit-and-run incident.

The newsroom had received a tip-off from a local who had heard what he suspected were gun-shots. It was an innocent world in many ways. Nepalis were still unfamiliar with sounds of bombs and gun-shots, the Maoist-waged “people’s war” was still in its infancy, violent deaths still shook everybody, and political assassination was unheard of. But what shocked the Nepalis most was how ugly games from powerful external forces could play out in Nepal, as it watched haplessly. The incident also gave many of us in the newsroom a first-hand lesson on forces which operate from behind the scene. Two of the theories that made the rounds then clearly pointed at the cross-border nature of the operation; the third one was that Beg’s death had to do with “family problems,” which turned out to be false. Continue reading Jamim Shah Murder: A Statement from Delhi?

Jamim Shah Murder Update: Indian Says He Killed.

Jamim murder brings relief to Indian security agencies: Indian daily

A day after: Nepali cabinet sets up an investigation committee even as an Indian calls up a Nepali TV station in Kathmandu to admit the responsibility

So Indian killed Jamim? May be this group, may be that group. May be Indians, may be Pakistanis. An Indian has reportedly claimed responsibility. When referring the killer as Indian, Nepali media shouldn’t do the mistake that Indian media often does: by generalizing and referring to the Indian people. In this case, even if the caller turns out to be a real killer, Nepali media should treat him as a criminal who happens to be an Indian national, not THE Indian national who killed. Indian media often jump gun and blame whole Nepal and Nepali people whenever a Nepali in India is suspected of having involvement in criminal activities.

But at this point we can’t really be sure about the authenticity of the caller. Neither we can trust Avenues TV that has claimed that a man identifying himself Bharat Nepali called the station to own the responsibility of murder. In this type of situation where apparently underworld kingpins functioning from countries more than one and intelligence agencies of enemy nations are involved, informations coming out from any quarter needs to be verified more than twice.

So who is Bharat Nepali? According to Avenues TV he is a former scalper from New Delhi’s Tilak Nagar who became Indian underworld don Chhota Rajan’s aide. According to Avenues, Bharat alleged Shah of having links with another underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, competitor of Chhota Rajan gang, and Pakistani intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

Bharat was reported last year to have split from the Chhota Rajan gang to start his own. Another unverified piece of report. He faces several murder charges and has been absconding in India. Bharat reportedly linked Jamim’s killing with a 1998 murder in which Mirza Dilsad Beg, a Nepali Member of Parliament, was shot dead in a similar fashion in Kathmandu. Chhota Rajan group had claimed responsibility of the murder alleging Beg of having links with Dawood and the ISI.

Meanwhile, a Hindi newspaper claims that the killing of Jamim Shah has come as a big relief to Indian security agencies who thought Jamim was involved in disseminating fake Indian currencies. The paper, Dainik Jagaran, citing unnamed Indian security agencies sources claims that Jamim had links with Dawood and was working in association with ISI to smuggle fake Indian currency into India via Kathmandu. “The ISI was prodding Jamim to open a modern printing press in Kathmandu to print fake Indian currency,” claims the paper citing unnamed Indian security agency sources. “But Jamim wasn’t being able to work as fast as ISI would have wanted. Moreover he was also worried about the infighting between conflicting underworld factions. He had complained about that with Dawood and had expressed desire to sale properties and business worth Rs. 5 billion and settle in Pakistan. Dawood had agreed but ISI foiled the plot.”

Cabinet forms probe committee
An emergency meeting of the cabinet today formed a five-member investigation committee to probe on Jamim Shah’s murder. Former justice Govinda Parajuli will led the committee that will also have senior officials from Nepal Police, National Investigation Department and Office of Attorney General along with an expert.

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.

Where Police Boss Encourages Crime

The boss of Nepal Police uses his subordinates to perpetrate crimes. But the state is taking no action against him even after the crime cases have been reported in the media.

family of those who were killed by inspector dhungana

Crime of a Policeman: She lost her husband and a son when a police Inspector enjoying the protection of Chief of Nepal Police Shyam Bhakta Thapa killed them. The killer is at large, police can’t find him and they haven’t received compensation. And the boss is still enjoying the Nepali people’s hard money to fill his corrupt stomach.

Today’s Kantipur publishes a letter titled “Quite Inspector General” in its popular column “Letter to the Editor” with a photo of IG of Police Shyam Bhakta Thapa attached. The writer of the letter Deepak Raj Oli of Kathmandu raises very interesting and thought provoking questions and arguments that need to be addressed by the government and the police organization as soon as possible. He was responding to the series of news published in the daily about misdeeds, corruption and killings by a police inspector under the direct protection of IGP. “This case proves that there could be no fair hearing against corruption in the king’s rule. IGP Thapa is quite even after an allegation of this scale. Home Minister is unable to take any action [against him]. The impression on general public is that there is no organization to take actions against anyone. News on papers would have swift impact had there been a political government. Issues of corruption have been shadowed because of king’s direct rule. Such an environment has been created in which corruption is growing rapidly.” Continue reading Where Police Boss Encourages Crime