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Shekhar Gupta claims protests in Kashmir are Pakistan’s best hope, then asks govt to lift restrictions so protests can happen

If protests in Kashmir are going to be in Pakistan's best interests, why then, Gupta's portal is advocating for them?

In recent days, we have scores of Indian politicians and Indian media persons indulge in fear-mongering and constantly predicting apocalypse in Kashmir so much that it is has begun to sound exactly like things Pakistan would say in its empty threats to India.

Many political leaders, especially from Congress, and now Mamata Banerjee too, have found endorsements from Pakistan. NDTV’s clips were used by Pakistan’s ruling party to peddle their agenda, many Indian ‘intellectuals’ and columnists are being hailed as ‘sympathisers’ of Pakistan in their media.

Amidst all these, there is another peculiar development. Shekhar Gupta of The Print, on August 7, had discussed in a video about how Pakistan would react after the Indian government’s decision regarding Jammu and Kashmir and Article 370.

In the video titled, “Gaming the Pakistani mind after its first responses to Indian moves in Kashmir”, Shekhar Gupta discusses Pakistan’s options available after India’s move. One by one, Gupta lists and with some retrospection, explains how those responses may not work in the present scenario, considering the government of India’s strong retaliatory action displayed post-Uri and post-Pulawama attacks. He also discusses that the larger public perception of Indians towards Pakistan’s age-old tactics of terror attacks and spreading fear have changed and Pakistan would only invite more anger.

Gupta also explains how Pakistan may not get international support over its stand on Jammu and Kashmir because its old tactic of pointing a gun to its own head has stopped terrifying India and the world.

As a last option for Pakistan, Gupta claims, that it can only pray that there are massive protests in Kashmir and the ground situation in Kashmir goes out of control. He explains further that Pakistan should now only hope and pray that there are large-scale protests in Kashmir, that people take to the streets and some security personnel lose their cool and fire.

Indian security forces firing on protestors to create a “Mini- Jalianwala” can be Pakistan’s best hope to further its interests in Kashmir and then exploiting the situation to get international attention over ‘Human Rights violation’, is what Gupta claims should be the only way for a Pakistani strategist right now.

“The best hope for Pakistan will now be a massive upsurge and subsequent allegations of human rights violations in Kashmir,” Gupta explains. He says that the onus is now on the Indian security forces to hold their nerve and ‘hold the fire’.

Very interestingly, days after claiming that protests in Kashmir are Pakistan’s best hope, Shekhar Gupta has published an article advocating protests in Kashmir and has asked that the government must lift restrictions to allow protests in Jammu and Kashmir.

The said article published in The Print and shared by Gupta himself, advocating the protests, claims that a monumental move like abrogating Article 370 and the ‘demotion’ the state into two UTs cannot go without ‘attracting violent political protests and when the ‘media blackout’ is lifted, we are bound to see more public agitation, from street protests to stone-pelting or worse.

Article in The Print

The article also urges the government to lift the communication blockade and ‘allow street protests and demonstrations to resume’

The print article

It is not clear why Gupta, who just days ago claimed that protests in Kashmir will be Pakistan’s best hope is now urging the government to lift restrictions and allow protests. Is he advocating the government to allow Pakistan a foothold, an excuse to have a say in the issue? If protests in Kashmir are going to be in Pakistan’s best interests, why then, Gupta’s portal is advocating for them?

It is not the first time that Gupta’s The Print has been found propagating contradictory and controversial stands. On several occasions, its starkly contradictory claims and monkey balancing acts have been widely discussed on social media too. But in this instance, it is beyond petty politics and narrow narrative peddling of state and national politics.

The Print has been a repeat offender in fake news peddling and has been caught many times fanning dubious narratives, even eulogising known anti-India fake news peddlers. But this goes beyond that.

The elections are over and right now we are looking at an enemy that has sworn to bleed us by a thousand cuts. The Jammu and Kashmir issue is a matter of India’s sovereignty and national security. By allowing Pakistan even an inch of space in our narrative and media discourse, we are facilitating the terrorism it has inflicted upon us for the last seven decades and jeopardising the extremely delicate security situation that has millions of Indian lives at stake, of civilians and security personnel alike.

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