The New Yorker magazine, in its article titled “Blood and soil in Narendra Modi’s India”, which is a ludicrous concoction of lies of fantastical proportions, downplayed the Pulwama Terror Attack and cast aspersions on the Balakot Airstrikes that followed. In its efforts, Dexter Filkins was assisted by none other than the founder of fake news portal AltNews, Pratik Sinha.
The journalist wrote, “On February 14th, a suicide bomber crashed a car laden with explosives into an Indian military convoy in Kashmir, killing forty soldiers. The attack energized Modi: he gave a series of bellicose speeches, insisting, “The blood of the people is boiling!” He blamed the attack on Pakistan, India’s archrival, and sent thousands of troops into Kashmir.”
Filkins thinly veils his insinuation that Pakistan-backed terrorism was not responsible for the Pulwama Terror Attack and it is only Narendra Modi who is blaming the terror state for garnering political mileage through the martyrdom of our soldiers. Furthermore, he insinuates that it’s Modi who insisted “The blood of the people is boiling!” It appears that the American journalist is living under the delusion that the people of India were not actually demanding revenge against Pakistan.
Dexter Filkins then proceeded to question the success of the Balakot Airstrikes itself. Of course, in his endeavour, he received generous help from rabid Modi-hater and propagandist Pratik Sinha. The New Yorker journalist wrote:
“On February 26th, Modi ordered airstrikes against what he claimed was a training camp for militants in the town of Balakot. Sympathetic outlets described a momentous victory: they pumped out images of a devastated landscape, and, citing official sources, claimed that three hundred militants had been killed. But Western reporters visiting the site found no evidence of any deaths; there were only a handful of craters, a slightly damaged house, and some fallen trees.”
Again, extremely conveniently, Filkins ignores the fact that the Pakistani government denied international media access to the sites of the Balakot airstrikes for days after the attack. The day of the Indian offensive itself, the Pakistan Army cordoned off the 60-acre compound, that is close to an area of 32-34 kilometre radius. No entry or exit of private vehicles was permitted. Even as late as the 8th of March, ten days after the event, Pakistan denied access to Reuters journalists.
Even a US-based activist from Gilgit, Senge Hasnan Shering, confirmed that Pakistan was definitely involved in a cover-up. He had said back then, “Pakistan continues to claim that the strike happened and it damaged the forest area and some farmland. But then there’s no reason for Pakistan to cordon off the area for such a long time and not allow the international media to have an independent opinion on the situation there.” But to Dexter Filkins, all of this is not enough evidence of a cover-up by the Pakistanis. It’s only Pratik Sinha and Rana Ayyub he trusts completely and unequivocally.
With Pratik Sinha in tow, Filkins engages in a remarkable sleight of hand. The New Yorker Report does not provide any good reason to doubt the assertions made by the Indian government. Consistent with the tone of the rest of the article, Filkins only furthers a preordained narrative through misrepresentation of facts, thinly-veiled insinuations and distortion of events.
“Many of the pro-Modi posts turned out to be crude fabrications. Pratik Sinha, of Alt News, pointed out that photos claiming to depict dead Pakistani militants actually showed victims of a heatwave; other images, ostensibly of the strikes, were cribbed from a video game called Arma 2.” What The New Yorker journalist essentially says is that people posted fabricated videos of the airstrikes on social media. Pratik Sinha, too, says the same thing.
Therefore, the argument appears to be that since people, who are in no way associated with the Indian government in any manner, posted videos that were not authentic, the Indian government must have lied about the success of the Balakot airstrikes. This is a shameless claim of the highest order. It’s akin to claiming that Osama bin-Laden was not neutralized by American forces because some people on social media might have posted fabricated videos or photographs related to the military operation.
This is the most blatant evidence of a distortion of facts to suit a preordained narrative. It is even shameful that the American journalist was supported in his endeavour by an Indian citizen, Pratik Sinha of AltNews, who has been consumed by his morbid hatred towards Narendra Modi. The hateful nature of Pratik Sinha, the founder of AltNews is well known. Apart from his proclivity towards doxxing, he is known to target the families of those he disagrees with politically. AltNews is known to peddle fake news and engage in the misrepresentation of facts when it suits their agenda.
The entire article is laden with fabrications, lies and ridiculous fantasies. But the real distressing aspect about it all is the fact that Filkins was helped in his project to malign India by a certain section of Indians who hate Narendra Modi intensely. Rana Ayyub even violated Indian laws to help The New Yorker reporter. She smuggled Filkins into Kashmir, violating Indian laws in the process and all manners of decency.