Shekhar Gupta led The Print, on Friday, published an article with the headline, “‘Khalistani’ Gopal Singh Chawla is a terrorist only on Indian TV channels”. The headline is a bit bizarre considering in the article, they do mention the various accusations that have been levelled against him.
The author writes in the article published in The Print, “Chawla found himself at the heart of a political row in India after being photographed with Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu at the Kartarpur ground-breaking ceremony in Pakistan on 28 November. He has been accused of being a Khalistani terrorist as well as a close aide of Hafiz Saeed, the alleged mastermind of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.”
The Print itself states in the article that Punjab Police believes him to be an ISI agent. The article quotes an unnamed Punjab Police officer who says that an arrested terrorist who allegedly planned to attack police stations, police posts and crowded places was introduced to Chawla and two other persons. The Police officer also said that the arrested terrorist was asked “to join more associates and propagate Sikh Referendum-2020 in a big way”.
The Print, however, appears to take Chawla’s words as the gospel truth. They believe him wholeheartedly when he says he does not support terrorism, they believe him wholeheartedly when he says he doesn’t have any connections with the mastermind of the 26/11 terrorist attacks, Hafiz Saeed.
The article quotes unnamed sources in Indian intelligence agencies who claim that Chawla’s name hasn’t popped up in any terror case. Anonymous sources from the intelligence agencies and Chawla’s own words, that’s enough reason for The Print to defend a proponent of Khalistani separatism. The words of the Punjab Police do not matter at all.
What The Print conveniently ignores is the fact that Chawla’s name has figured during investigations into the recent grenade attack on Nirankari Bhawan near Amritsar which claimed three lives. He is believed to be a close associate of Hafiz Saeed as well and there’s a photo of him with the dreaded terrorist in public domain.
As per reports, Chawla prevented Indian diplomats from visiting a Gurudwara in Lahore and meeting pilgrims from India. He was also involved in posting photos of ‘Sikh Referendum 2020’ outside Gurudwaras in Pakistan where Indian Sikhs were visiting. By all standards, The Print proceeded to whitewash a dreaded anti-India Khalistani.
There is also a video where Chawla can be allegedly seen spewing anti India venom. In the face of such hatred, it is a wonder the Shekhar Gupta would allow his platform to be used by a Khalistani to spread his break India message and whitewash him in the process.
Exclusive Video of Sidhu Friend & Terrorist Gopal Chawla pic.twitter.com/PHOcc2yqwf
— Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga (@TajinderBagga) November 29, 2018
Under such circumstances, it is bewildering that The Print has attempted to whitewash one of the most prominent faces of Khalistani separatism. Not only that, but it has also provided a platform to the Khalistani to sow seeds of division within the Hindu and Sikh communities in India. The Khalistani told The Print, “If Hindus talk of a Hindu Rashtra then they are pure and patriotic but if we Sikhs demand it, then we become terrorists.” It’s quite a concern that an outlet founded by the Chief of the Editors’ Guild of India is providing a Khalistani with a platform to further his divisive agenda.
The Print has committed a series of transgressions in recent times which can be viewed as anti-India. In a republished article by a Pakistani, The Print allowed him to refer to Kashmir as ‘held Kashmir’, in line with the Pakistani narrative.
Are you really going to stoop so low for content that while republishing a Pakistani’s article, you will let him call Kashmir “held Kashmir” on your portal @ShekharGupta? This is low even by @ThePrintIndia standards pic.twitter.com/zjw1kQRqBB
— Nupur J Sharma (@UnSubtleDesi) November 30, 2018
The Print, in the past, has also advocated rampant persecution of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh to further their agenda. After Rahul Gandhi compared the RSS to the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), The Print urged the Congress President to learn something from Egypt’s crackdown on the Islamist organization.
As we have reported earlier, the MB was removed from political power by a military coup following which there was a severe crackdown on the organization. It was done with the intention of ensuring that they could never seize power again. The Print whitewashes a Khalistani while advocating for a violent crackdown on the RSS, it appears that its priorities do not align with national interests.
Indian media hasn’t really been a beacon of integrity ever but it’s a new low even for them. Not only is the media and the likes of The Print sowing seeds of divisions within the country to further their agenda, but they are also providing a platform to Khalistanis to assist them in their endeavour.