The Modi government recently took a bold decision, revoking the special status accorded to Jammu and Kashmir. While abrogating the provisions of Article 370 and scrapping Article 35A, it also bifurcated Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories – J&K and Ladakh.
As soon as the Home Minister Amit Shah made the announcement in Parliament, it was as if a dam had been broken. The country rejoiced in one voice, after all, this was nothing short of true independence. After decades of tyranny and Pakistan using the special status to fan discord and terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir had finally been fully integrated with the rest of India without any conditions or riders.
However, not everyone was in a celebratory mood. The ones who had created a cottage industry around the Kashmir conundrum and had profited massively from the conflict started yelping. Congress, the parents of this decades-long conflict were not happy. Rahul Gandhi has not said much apart from one strange tweet with tons of platitudes. Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury stood on the floor of the parliament and toed the Pakistan line by internationalising the issue and asking the government, in effect, whether it should have consulted the UN and Pakistan before altering the nature of Jammu and Kashmir. Digvijay Singh etc also chimed in with a host of ridiculous comments and Congress eventually passed a resolution in CWC against the decision of the government. The incitement came from various other political quarters like Mehbooba Mufti, Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah, Mamata Banerjee etc.
While the politicians were understandably hurt that a simmering issue that has helped most political parties over the decades could be potentially resolved over time with this move, the media was equally hurt. There were several op-eds written about how this is an assault on democracy, the Kashmiri people are being hurt and the list if endless.
While all this happened, the UN and most other countries, even UAE, that Pakistan claims to have an Islamic bond with, supported India. Almost in unison, the statements said that this was an internal matter of India. The statements were significant because Pakistan was then completely removed as a stakeholder in Jammu and Kashmir per the international community.
However, though the international community conceded and the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh were rejoicing the move, the media was busy peddling a dangerous narrative. One such report that stood out was that from The Quint. The Quint headline read, “‘This is Like 1984’: Punjab Upset Over ‘Injustice’ in Kashmir”.
The insinuation of the headline was simple. Punjab hates the idea of Jammu and Kashmir being an integral part. Subliminal messaging is even more dangerous. What the headline indicated to the average reader was the following:
- Punjab sympathises with the separatist sentiments of a section of the South Kashmir population as it resonates with the Khalistanis.
- The Indian government was committing genocide in Kashmir.
While the second one is mere platitude that is being peddled by Leftists, the second insinuation that links Khalistan with J&K decision is far more worrying.
Now, since The Quint had published this report, it became imperative to analyse what data points they had used. It was also imperative to understand whose statements were they basing their sweeping generalisation on.
The Quint article first quoted Chief Minister of Punjab Captain Amrinder Singh. Amarinder Singh had said that he thought the move was unconstitutional. However, it is not surprising that he would say that considering his party stand has been on those lines.
Next, The Quint quotes Kanwar Sandhu, who is an AAP MLA. AAP supported the decision of the Modi government’s decisions in Jammu and Kashmir in the parliament. However, the AAP in Punjab had a diametrically opposite stand. However, any journalistic endeavour that makes such a tall statement would require the report to present all sides of the picture. The Quint fails to mention that AAP in Punjab has thrived by playing on Khalistani sentiments. During the Punjab elections, AAP had openly and shamelessly pandered to Khalistani elements. This little piece of information is given a miss by The Quint.
Further, The Quint quotes certain organisations that have raised an objection to the effective abrogation of Article 370. Interestingly, Quint mentions all of them almost as if they are all independent organisation comprising of average, everyday Sikhs. That is not the case.
Firstly, under the subheading, “Widespread Protests”, The Quint writes the following:
“However, opposition to the Modi government’s move wasn’t restricted to the corridors of power. There were protests in different parts of Punjab, mostly by Left-wing and Panthic outfits”.
It is intriguing how The Quint took the opinion of the Left and juxtaposed it to the entire state of Punjab.
Coming back to the outfits mentioned by Quint. The Quint writes:
“For instance, outfits like Lok Sangram Manch, Kirti Kisan Union, Punjab Students’ Union, Inqlabi Lok Morcha, Inqlabi Kendar and Association for Democratic Rights carried out protests in Bathinda, Moga and other cities. Dal Khalsa also held demonstrations expressing solidarity the people of Kashmir”.
While mentioning these outfits, The Quint does not even inform their readers of what these outfits are or what their political inclinations are making it seem like they are merely organisations by independent Sikhs.
Lok Sangram Manch, for example, is an outfit that comes under the aegis of CPI-ML New Democracy. In fact, at a conference in Punjab held by Lok Sangram Manch, ‘comrade’ Varavara Rao was also an ’eminent’ speaker.
The website says, “After the session, Comrade Varvara Rao lectured the comrades, sister organizations and general public on the national and international situation and challenges. He referred to the legacy of Punjab and encouraged the people to take part in revolutionary struggles. He attacked Modi government for its communal Hindu fascist and economic onslaught against poor people of India”.
While the word ‘Khalistan’ has not been mentioned in the report itself, the nexus between Khalistani elements and Urban Naxals is rather evident. Next, The Quint mentions Kirti Kisan Union which is also an arm of CPI-ML New Democracy. The Inqlabi Lok Morcha, too, is a Far-Left organization.
The Punjab Students’ Union too is far-left. They project deep hatred for Hindus with the mention of ‘Ram’ in their so-called protest against the abrogation of Article 370. It also insults the Indian Army by portraying them as killers and the Indian flag in one of their posters. The PSU has also been accused of having intimate links with Naxalites. The claim was made by a student leader from Punjab, Darshan Baghi, in his memoir. He claims that he abandoned the union due to its sectarian politics.
Then, there is the Association for Democratic Rights (AFDR). The AFDR is a coordinating organisation of the CDRO, an organization that we have reported on extensively for their links to the Urban Naxals for their alleged involvement in the violence at Koregaon Bhima and an alleged plot to assassinate Prime Minister Modi. In earlier articles, we have also covered their intimate links to Kashmiri separatists and separatists in Manipur.
It is rather evident that all the organisations mentioned by The Quint are Far-Left organisations that have often indulged in disruptive politics.
The Quint doesn’t stop there. In order to paint a picture of entire Punjab dissenting against the Modi govt’s move in Jammu and Kashmir, Quint shamelessly quotes Khalistan supporters and extremists.
One of the organisations that The Quint quotes is Dal Khalsa.
Quoting from an August 2018 Tribune report:
On the occasion of its foundation day, the Dal Khalsa on Monday said it would strive for a peaceful, political and democratic struggle for a separate Sikh homeland. At the same time, the radical Sikh organisation paid homage to “militant” leaders, acknowledged the “contribution” of Pakistan-based Sikh leaders and boasted of support of Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani.
In a recent sting operation, some shocking facts came to the forefront which goes on to reveal that from attacking political leaders with the support of the ISI, openly extending support to terrorists like Hafiz Saeed, to carrying out anti-India campaigns in the UK and USA, Khalistani supporters who have lately become active have made ‘break India’ their core impulse.
Gurcharan Singh, member of the once-banned Dal Khalsa said, “The enemy of your enemy is your friend. That is the simple thing. And secondly, when the union is smashed into small parts we will need a coalition of such groups.” He, in a shocking revelation, mentioned that they have links in every single state of India and that they are funding every terror activity in India.
Another individual that The Quint mentions is one Gurdarshan Singh Dhillon. While The Quint introduces him in their article as “a renowned scholar of Sikh history”, when one researches a little further, one realises that while he might be a history scholar, he is also a staunch Khalistani radical.
There are several videos of Dhillon where he has openly espoused and advocated for Khalistan and fanned separatist, radical sentiments.
The Quint goes on to mention a retired IAS officer called Gurtej Singh. Interestingly, what they do not mention is that Gurtej Singh too is Pro Khalistan and in fact, had started a political party along with Gurdarshan Singh Dhillon called Lok Leher Party. Even Indian Express brands Gurtej Singh as having pro-Khalistan sentiments.
The Quint then quotes one man, a journalist from the UK, to broad-brush the sentiments of Punjabi diaspora.
What if tomorrow Trump announced that Hindus were no longer allowed to pray in America?
Sound weird? The US is a predominantly Christian country but the Constitution guarantees religious freedom. We KNOW he can’t just ignore it, regardless of his personal views. Right?
— Sunny Hundal (@sunny_hundal) August 7, 2019
The argument posed by Sunny Hundal didn’t make sense, to begin with. The Indian Government has not asked anyone to stop praying in Kashmir. It was merely a statement of grand-standing that sounds intellectually soothing, according to where a person’s political bias lies but is not founded on facts or logic.
Sunny Hundal is also the Social Media Editor at openDemocracy. It is a globalist institution that receives significant donations from the Ford Foundation, George Soros’ Open Society Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Heinrich Boll Foundation and numerous others. At OpIndia.com, we have earlier reported on organizations funded by George Soros who are involved in undermining the sovereignty of nations around the world. Heinrich Boll Foundation also contributes to CSSS, whose member Ram Puniyani was involved with drafting the Communal Violence Bill as part of an advisory council of Sonia Gandhi’s NAC.
The Quint then speaks the language of Khalistan in conclusion of its report. It says:
Clearly, the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and the ongoing lockdown in the erstwhile state has sparked fear and anger among Punjab’s Sikh community as well as the Sikh diaspora. There are fears that what has happened in Kashmir might happen in Punjab and that the Hindutva march could eventually harm the Sikhs as well.
The lockdown in Kashmir has also brought back memories of the ghastly violence against the Sikhs in the 1980s and 1990s and the attack on Harmander Sahib in Amritsar, a yet unhealed wound for many in the community.
Another concern in the community is that the worsening of ties between India and Pakistan can put the Kartarpur Sahib corridor project in jeopardy.
The Quint here quite openly fans Khalistan sentiments. The Sikhs as a community have always stood by not only the Hindus but also the sovereignty and integrity of India. For the Quint to draw a parallel between the situation in Kashmir, which is largely fanned and funded by Pakistan to the sentiments of the average Sikh in Punjab, based on the statements of Urban Naxals and Khalistanis is worrisome, to say the least.
It is further interesting that Quint, on its own accord has branded the effective abrogation of Article 370 as a ‘Hindutva march’. Essentially, the move has nothing to do with religion and is an exercise in the full and complete integration of Jammu and Kashmir with the rest of India without any conditions and riders. In saying this, Quint not only panders to Khalistan separatists but also Pakistan as it is their preferred narrative to pin this on ‘Hindutva’. If the jubilation of Kashmiri Hindus finding justice after decades of genocide can be branded as a Hindutva March, then this article by The Quint could very well be branded as a March of the Khalistani and Islamic Extremists.