Day after London EVM row, organiser distances itself from controversial event

Updated on Jan 22, 2019 08:56 PM IST
While the Foreign Press Association (FPA) “strongly” dissociated itself from the event, the other organiser, Indian Journalists Association (IJA), called for an inquiry into allegations made at the event.
The event, held in the central London location of The Clubhouse, was attended by senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal. Ray said he had sent invitations to other parties, but only Sibal attended it.(Arijit Sen/HT Photo)
The event, held in the central London location of The Clubhouse, was attended by senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal. Ray said he had sent invitations to other parties, but only Sibal attended it.(Arijit Sen/HT Photo)
Hindustan Times, London | By

A day after an individual sought to demonstrate EVM hacking in London, one of the organisers on Tuesday distanced itself from the controversial event.

While the Foreign Press Association (FPA) “strongly” dissociated itself from the event, the other organiser, Indian Journalists Association (IJA), called for an inquiry into allegations made at the event.

The FPA (founded in 1888) said it “strongly disassociates” itself from claims made by the speaker, who called himself Syed Shuja. “The Foreign Press Association strongly disassociates itself with any claims made by the speaker Syed Shuja during the #IJA event in London yesterday. Not one of the masked speaker’s accusations have so far been corroborated,” the FPA said in a tweet.

Also Watch: Akhilesh Yadav raises question on credibility of EVMs, cites Japan’s example  

FPA director Deborah Bonetti added: “The speaker at yesterday’s event did not follow up his claims with any proof. He was not credible and should not have been given a platform.”

As London-based Indian journalists raised serious questions about the event’s content, IJA president Ashis Ray said both FPA and IJA organised the event “in good faith”, and noted the FPA distancing itself from the event.

Ray said the individual, who spoke through Skype from a location said to be in the United States and made a series of unsubstantiated allegations, is a “radio frequency engineer Syed Hyder Ahmed (also known as Syed Shuja)”.

He added: “Admittedly, the accusations made by Ahmed were very serious, which he could not substantiate. He left a roomful of scribes highly sceptical, if not annoyed.”

However, Ray said the documents provided after the event appeared to establish that Shuja was granted asylum in the US. He questioned the basis of the US decision, and said the answer “obviously lies with Washington”.

He said in a statement: “The picture he painted of what allegedly occurred in Hyderabad in May 2014 was clearly chilling. A proper inquiry would perhaps unearth if his charges are true or false”.

“On the face of it, Ahmed’s utterances via Skype left most journalists who listened to him and questioned him unconvinced. People are unlikely to believe Ahmed until and unless he decisively demonstrates – which he had promised to do – that EVMs are not infallible”.

Ray added: “I have been a broadcaster and journalist from 1971 and a foreign correspondent since 1977. I consider it my right to explore news with unfettered freedom. In hindsight, we can say that Ahmed disappointed. But that does not mean we should not have listened to him.”

The event, held in the central London location of The Clubhouse, was attended by senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal. Ray said he had sent invitations to other parties, but only Sibal attended it.

“Since invitations were sent to party presidents concerned, I surmised Mr Sibal had been sent as an observer to the press conference. He sat in one of the back rows of the room; and did not participate in the proceedings in any way”, Ray added.

Formed on May 29, 1947, weeks before India’s independence, the IJA is described as a representative body of Britain-based correspondents and journalists reporting on and covering India and South Asia-related issues.

Its membership today comprises representatives of Indian media outlets covering Britain and Europe from an Indian perspective, as well as journalists working for British Asian news organisations.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Prasun Sonwalkar was Editor (UK & Europe), Hindustan Times. During more than three decades, he held senior positions on the Desk, besides reporting from India’s north-east and other states, including a decade covering politics from New Delhi. He has been reporting from UK and Europe since 1999.

Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden exit Marine One at Charleston Executive Airport, SC. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

    US first lady tests Covid positive days after President Joe Biden recovers

    She had been vacationing with President Joe Biden in South Carolina when she began experiencing symptoms on Monday. She has been prescribed the antiviral drug Paxlovid and will isolate at the vacation home for at least five days.

  • British Royal Air Force pilots aboard a military aircraft. (RAF/ Facebook)

    Britain’s RAF flights transporting ammunition from Pakistan to Ukraine?

    Britain's Royal Air Force has been running near-daily flights with a C-17 Globemaster heavy lift aircraft from Romania to an airbase in the Pakistani garrison city of Rawalpindi since early this month, data from flight tracking websites have shown. It was not immediately clear what sort of equipment was being airlifted by the massive RAF aircraft. The flights involved a Boeing C-17A Globemaster III of the RAF with the call sign 'ZZ173'.

  • The auctioning of abandoned contents is a common practice for storage units with unpaid bills.

    Human remains 'found in suitcases' sold at N. Zealand auction

    New Zealand police have begun a homicide investigation after human remains were allegedly found stashed in suitcases that were bought at an auction in the country's largest city Auckland. Read New Zealand welcomes back first cruise ship since Covid-19 pandemic began Residents at a home in South Auckland called police last Thursday after making the grisly discovery, police official Tofilau Faamanuia Vaaelua confirmed.

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    Putin slams US for whipping up Asian tensions with Taiwan visit and AUKUS pact

    Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the United States on Tuesday of whipping up tensions in Asia, describing a visit to Taiwan by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as a "thoroughly planned provocation". In a speech to a Moscow security conference, Putin also cited the AUKUS security pact between Australia, Britain and the United States as evidence of Western attempts to build a NATO-style bloc in the Asia-Pacific region.

  • China’s research and survey vessel, the Yuan Wang 5, docked at Hambantota port in Sri Lanka on Tuesday. (AFP)

    Chinese tracking ship docks at Sri Lankan port; Beijing says third party should not ‘obstruct’ cooperation

    China on Tuesday said the docking of a Chinese missile and spacecraft tracking ship in the southern Sri Lankan port of Hambantota for replenishment will not affect the security interests of any country and should not be “obstructed” by a third party, in an apparent reference to India. The docking of the ship comes a day after India handed over a Dornier maritime surveillance aircraft to the Sri Lanka Navy. Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Wang Wenbin then reiterated the point.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Tuesday, August 16, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now