Senior Kerala-based journalist O Abdurrahman, who had worked as an interpreter at the Indian Embassy in Qatar during Indira Gandhi’s tenure as the Indian PM, had burnt documents related to Jamaat-e-Islami instead of distributing them to the media, while allowed RSS related documents to go out. He had disclosed this in a speech in 2019, the video of which has emerged now.
O Abdurrahman was working as a translator in the Qatar Embassy when Jamaat-e-Islami was banned by the Indira Gandhi government. At that time, the diplomatic bags sent to the embassy included leaflets of Jamaat and other documents that justified the ban. It may be noted that Jamaat-e-Islami was banned a few days after the declaration of the emergency by the Indira Gandhi-led Congress government. As there was an outrage in the Arab world against the ban, the Indian govt had sent documents supporting the ban to embassies in those countries, asking them to be published in local media. However, O Abdurrahman, who has been associated with the Islamic organisation for a long time, refused to do so, and therefore burnt the documents that justified the ban on Jamaat.
The leaflets and documents were to be distributed to the media and other related offices in Qatar. However, O Abdurrahman said that he found it difficult to distribute them, and burnt them instead. However, he distributed documents related to RSS which were also sent in the diplomatic bags.
He said, ‘In 1975, I was working in Indian Embassy in Qatar as an interpreter. After the declaration of emergency by Indira Gandhi, an order came to ban Jamaat-e-Islami along with ban on RSS and few others. Next 2 years was really hard for me. The scholars and clerics in Arab world strongly opposed the ban on Jamaat. In that background, what I did was, when the diplomatic bags arrived every week, there were literature on why Jamaat-e-Islami was banned along with literature on why RSS was banned. One of my jobs was, the ambassador Arif Gabriel would tell me to distribute the literature to all media organisations. It was easy to distribute literature giving reasons for banning RSS, but when it came to distributing literature on why Jamaat was banned, which were lies according to me, it pricked my conscience.’
Therefore, he burnt those literature related to Jamaat-e-Islami, he revealed.
Admitting the burning of the diplomatic documents, Abdurrahman said people can either call him a patriot or a traitor, but he stands by his action decades ago. He made the revelation during a speech at an event in Trichur in 2019.
When Republic talked to him on the matter, he refused to make any comment on the matter but said that he had opposed the emergency. When asked why distributed documents supporting RSS selectively, Abdurrahman claimed that he had opposed the ban on RSS also.
O Abdurrahman is the group editor of Madhyamam Daily newspaper and Mediaone news channel. Importantly, he is also known as an activist associated with Jamaat-e-Islami. The newspaper and the channel are run by Ideal Publications Trust, which was founded by Jamaat-e-Islami Hind wing in Kerala.