How ISRO ‘spy’ case turned a bosom friend into bitter foe

For the country, the ISRO ‘espionage’ case reportedly delayed development of cryogenic technology for many years.

Published: 12th January 2019 01:52 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th January 2019 05:25 AM   |  A+A-

Fauziyya Hassan speaks during the Open Forum at the Kerala Literature Festival In Kozhikode | Manu R Mavelil

By Express News Service

KOZHIKODE: For the country, the ISRO ‘espionage’ case reportedly delayed development of cryogenic technology for many years. For the Congress party in Kerala, it took ‘I’-’A’ factional war to new heights. But, for Malidivian national Fauziyya Hassan, who was embroiled in the case, it caused irreparable damage to her friendship with the co-accused Mariam Rasheeda.

While speaking at a session ‘They Made Me a Spy: The ISRO Story’ at the Kerala Literature Festival (KLF), she remembered how the investigating officers of Kerala police and Intelligence Bureau turned two bosom friends into enemies. Mariam was the trump card against Fauziyya in the case.

They befriended each other in 1978. Since then, they remained best friends until 1994, when the alleged spy case emerged. When they were friends, Mariam Rasheeda financially helped Fauziyya Hassan in desperate times. Even such innocuous money dealings were used to buttress the case against them. Just before they were arrested in connection with the case, Fauziyya borrowed `1500 from Mariam for her daughter’s academic purposes. “We met in 1978. We were neighbours. She gave statements against me, probably because of the pressure from the police officers. The police had asked her to put some documents in my bag. Because they had no evidence to prove my guilt, they tried to fabricate evidence,” Fauziyya said.

During the CBI investigation of the case, they brought Fauziyya and Mariam face to face. The investigation officers said to the duo that it was their last chance to escape from the case. “I pleaded with her to tell the truth. Even I touched her feet to persuade her to tell the truth. But she did not change her statement. However, the CBI investigation brought the truth out, and I was freed at last,” she said.

After the case was over, they met. But Fauziyya did not ask Mariam anything about the case. She also did not reveal anything related to the case. They just had a chit chat. “We are not friends now. I do not want to talk to her. But, if she is ready, I will talk with her,” she said. The CBI probe found no evidence of espionage. Fauziyya had to spend 3.6 years in jail, because S Vijayan, the sub-inspector who arrested Fauziyya, had given complaints against her.

‘Gandhism can address social issues of Muslims’

Kozhikode: Historian-writer Ramachandra Guha on Friday said Gandhian ideologies are capable of preventing all social crises being faced by the Muslim community in the country. He was speaking at an interactive session with columnist Shajahan Madampattu at the Kerala Literature Festival here on Friday. “Gandhi is being honoured all over the world even now. Though Gandhi and his ideology is receiving popularity from people of other countries, he finds mention only in ‘Swatch Bharat’ in his own country”, said the writer. He stressed the need for healthy relationship between followers of Mahatma Gandhi and B R Ambedkar as both leaders stood for different ideologies. Responding a query, Guha opined that Gopal Krishna Gokhale and Leo Tolstoy were the role models of Mahatma Gandhi.

‘People’s efforts saved state during crisis’

Kozhikode: Additional Chief Secretary P H Kurian on Friday said the people of Kerala salvaged the state themselves during the devastating flood. He was speaking at an open session on ‘Post Flood Kerala’ at the Kerala Literature Festival here on Friday. “People introduced many new methods of rescue operation during the flood. Though the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Army, Navy and other agencies had come to help, rescue operation was too hard for the authority. When the Pathanamthitta District Collector put forward the idea to utilise the services of fishermen, it provided much relief to the entire rescue teams,” he said.  IT Secretary M Sivasankar said social media groups had also extended their support to the rescue mission. “Many IT companies came forward with help offering better communication facilities during the crisis,” he said.

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