Pratik Sinha, the founder of dubious ‘fact-checking’ website AltNews, was found whitewashing the crimes of a dreaded Jihadi terror leader by labelling him as a mere separatist on Twitter. On 23rd May, Jihadi Terrorist Zakir Musa was killed by Indian security forces yesterday in Jammu and Kashmir. Musa was the head of Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, a cell of terrorist organisation Al-Qaeda.
Although the news of neutralisation of a most wanted terrorist was welcomed by most people, some people, including left-liberal journalists, could not digest the news. One such journalist was Arfa Khanum Sherwani, senior editor of propaganda website The Wire. When BTVI editor Aditya Raj Kaul shared the news with a comment that it is a win for Indian Democracy, Arfa could not tolerate that and said that it is tough to differentiate between RW trolls and RW journalists now. She suggested that only right-wing trolls want deadly terrorists dead.
It’s tough to differentiate between RW trolls and RW journalists now.
Most certainly new depths are waiting to be plumbed for Modi Media. https://t.co/ROjLzIEMaA
— Arfa Khanum Sherwani (@khanumarfa) May 24, 2019
After her tweet, News 24 editor Manak Gupta posted a light-hearted tweet in Hindi responding to one of Arfa’s Hindi tweet containing the word ‘Musa’, which was posted on 22nd May. He had written that he (Musa) will not come now, and if anyone wishes to meet him, will go away from this earth. In the same tweet, he had clarified in brackets that Arfa was not talking about Zakir Musa, and included an emoji to indicate that it was a joke.
वो अब नहीं नहीं आ पाएगा. जो उससे मिलना चाहता है, ख़ुद भी ऊपर जाएगा
(वैसे मैडम #ZakirMusa की बात नहीं कर रही हैं ?) Zakir Musa
— Manak Gupta (@manakgupta) May 24, 2019
But for Pratik Sinha, who these days do fact-check on memes and photo manipulations done as jokes, this was not enough. He accused that Manak Gupta had invited a troll army to the Wire journalist because her tweet contained the word Musa.
Along with that, most shockingly, Sinha also referred to Zakir Mura as a separatist, not as a terrorist. Although the matter may look trivial on the surface, it is not. Separatist means a person who supports the separation of a region from a larger region it is part of. Separatists can use various methods to place their demand, and some of such methods may not be against the law. For example, there are separatists who use only non-violent methods.
On the other hand, Terrorists create terror through the use of violence. They target both civilians and armed forces. More importantly, Islamic terrorists like Zakir Musa create terror in order to establish Islamic rule. The jihadis operating in Kashmir are specifically motivated by the goal of creating an Islamic Caliphate in the region, which can’t be defined as simple separatism.
Therefore, calling a terrorist leader a separatist leader is not only misleading, but it also whitewashes the crimes against humanity done by the terrorists.