For linking RSS to 26/11, Aziz Burney says sorry on front page

via published on January 29, 2011

Aziz Burney hit national headlines when he got Congress heavyweight Digvijay Singh to throw his weight behind his book, provocatively titled RSS ka Shadyantra, 26/11 (RSS conspiracy, 26/11).

That book launch, on December 6 last year, was the event where Singh said that Mumbai ATS chief Hemant Karkare had called him, hours before he was killed in the terror attacks, to tell him about threats he had received for probing Hindu extremists and their terror links.

Now Burney says he is sorry.

In a front-page apology in the Hindi edition of Rashtriya Sahara today — also carried in Hindi in its Urdu edition that Burney edits — he has apologised “if he has hurt anyone or any group while discussing events around 26/11.”

The apology is titled “Aziz Burney ki taraf se safaai aur maafi)” (A clarification and apology from Burney).

For more than two years since the Mumbai attacks, Burney has been presenting what he calls an “alternative” picture through a series of more than 100 articles, culminating in the book published both in Urdu and in Hindi.

He said today that he would like to “clarify and apologise if he has hurt anyone by the title of his book and is happy to change the title” if that would assuage feelings.

Said Burney: “I am an Indian and stand by my government on all international matters. I will never do anything to compromise its position in the rest of the world.”

He cited a piece he wrote on December 17 last year entitled, Hafiz Sayed hamara apraadhi hai, ise hamein saunpo, (Hafiz Sayed is our enemy, hand him to us). “(The piece) does not talk about 26/11 nor links the incident with the RSS,” he said.

He said that he did not want to weaken India’s stand in any way nor wishes to link RSS to the incident.

Burney has consistently maintained that there is more to 26/11 than meets the eye, and has on several occasions, discussed the death of Karkare.

When asked by The Indian Express to explain his turnaround, Burney said: “There is no turnaround, I have just been misinterpreted. I was only pointing to certain circumstantial evidence in the matter, which I would want investigating agencies to look at. I am a journalist, not an investigating agency. I agree with the Indian government’s view on this. All I am saying is consider the circumstantial evidence. It is as a true Muslim that I am happy to apologise if someone is hurt by the allegations.”

Sources said Burney is under a lot of pressure, both on the political and personal fronts. He said he was “open to changing the title of his book, but not the contents.”

“After all, it is the CBI which has ordered a reopening of the Malegaon probe. Look at what Aseemanand has to say. Even in a case like Aarushi Talwar’s murder, they are looking at circumstantial things, which is all I pointed out in the 26/11 case. Who am I to accuse and judge?

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