Mumbai : The Indian documentary maker arrested in Houston for carrying a prohibited weapon, and having jihadi literature with him, is a former RSS activist.
Originally a New Delhi resident, Vijay Kumar shifted to Mumbai three years ago as he wanted to make documentaries on illegal Bangladeshi migrants. A member of a “charitable trust” called Patriots’ Forum, he was passionate on the topic of illegal Bangladeshi migrants and change in demographics, says a senior member of the same forum and “good friend” D C Nath. Incidentally, Nath is a former Intelligence Bureau Special Director.
Kumar speaks chaste Hindi and was committed to the cause of “protecting the ethos of Indian civilisation”, adds Nath.
Besides this, Kumar also has interest in real estate, and tried his hand as property consultant in both New Delhi and Mumbai.
His advocate Navin Chaumal has confirmed that Kumar was earlier associated with the RSS and was very keen on “moving a PIL on the subject of illegal Bangladeshi migrants”. “He met me just days before he left for the US.” According to Nath, Kumar had spent his youth “following spirituality in the Himalayas”, after which he moved to New Delhi and tried to set up a company in security services. However, it did not take off and he shifted to real estate.
Speaking to The Indian Express from Houston, Criminal Defense Attorney Grant Scheiner said: “There are two specific custodies that Kumar is involved in. The criminal case custody (over the weapon) and the immigration custody (over the jihadi literature). We are moving the court today to get the criminal court case hearing postponed. The state is set to revoke his visa. He is expected to be in immigration custody till September 2.”
Grant added: “He is obviously frustrated with the manner things turned up... At this moment, he is still only formally charged with carrying brass knuckles, something he says he had during his travels in India for safety. He didn’t know it was prohibited here.”
The Anti-Terrorism Squad back home says they have been tracking Kumar’s case. “We are waiting for him to return. We will be calling him for questioning to understand the nature of his visit and the arrest that followed,” said ATS chief Rakesh Maria.
Nath, however, feels that “all of this will pass” and he and other members of the Patriots’ Forum are using the Internet to reach out to Indians in the US for monetary and legal assistance for Kumar.