Shivam Vij, ’eminent’ liberal thinker, has been accused of inventing a quote out of thin air for his report on Shekhar Gupta’s The Print titled ‘Why Kashmiri Pandits may never return to the Valley’. Shivam Vij used a conversation he claims to have had with author Arvind Gigoo in order to peddle his agenda. Vij is a contributing editor at The Print.
Now, the Kashmiri Pandit’s son, Siddhartha Gigoo, has come out on Twitter and accused Shivam Vij of lying, saying that his father never gave any such quote.
This is to state & clarify that this article cites my father, Arvind Gigoo’s quote. The truth is my father NEVER gave this quote. The reporter, Shivam Vij, has lied. Hello @ShekharGupta @ThePrintIndia , please remove my father’s quote from the article and apologize. https://t.co/XtI7hYO33J
— Siddhartha Gigoo (@siddharthagigoo) December 2, 2019
Siddhartha said that Shivam Vij has lied in his report, and asked Shekhar Gupta to remove his father’s false quote from the article, and apologise.
Shivam Vij wrote in his report, “Arvind Gigoo is a retired English lecturer from Kashmir, now living in a flat in Jammu with his wife. He moved to Jammu after the exodus in 1991. I asked him why he never thought of returning and living in his home in Srinagar. He explained that his friends were now all in Jammu. It’s the same reason why he doesn’t live with his son in Delhi, the writer Siddhartha Gigoo. When Arvind Gigoo went back to Srinagar after many years, he felt like an outsider, because he didn’t know anyone anymore.”
He continued, “People migrate and die, and so on. The young look at a Pandit speaking in Kashmiri like an oddity from a mythical past. But the most important reason he couldn’t imagine going back to living in Srinagar was comfort. The old house, the old way of living, the old kind of toilets, the dirty old lanes. He was comfortable living in a more modern house in Jammu. He eventually sold the Srinagar house — something many Pandits did.” He then proceeded to add, “So, when we speak of the “return” of Pandits, it is not a physical relocation we need to think of. Pandits cannot return to a Kashmir that is pre-1989, because it does not exist anymore.”
The report comes across as a sermon by a preacher at some pulpit. The purpose of the entire article appears to be issuing severe moral condemnations of Sandeep Chakravorty, India’s Consul General in New York, who was involved in controversy recently, and other related individuals. Another person who was the object of Shivam Vij’s moral sermons was Pooja Shali of India Today.
Shivam Vij wrote, “Yet, the word “camps” will be repeated ad nauseam because how else do you claim continuing victimhood? Take for instance this report by Pooja Shali in India Today, which says, “Kashmiri Pandits living in the Jagti refugee camp appreciated PM Modi-led government’s decision to revoke the state’s special status.” The deliberate yet subtle falsehood here is to describe Jagti as a camp and not a ‘township’. You can see here a photo of the entrance to the Jagti apartments. For anyone who doesn’t understand what a camp is, here is a photo of how the Pandits once lived in camps.”
Now, Pooja Shali, too, has come out on Twitter and slammed Shivam Vij for twisting her report to peddle his agenda.
Yes, tent camps have given way to dilapidated apartments. And that makes anti-minority rhetoric alright?
Instead of empathising that KPs are still not rehabilitated by govts in Kashmir, we have scaremongering – that they will take over Kashmir!
And not even initiate a beginning?
— Pooja Shali (@PoojaShali) December 2, 2019
It is kindness of people in Jammu that they didn’t get absorbed in names like camps or township. Or, allege demographic terrorism. Where else would Kashmiri Hindu refugees settle if Jammu residents behaved as vile like Shivam Vij?
— Pooja Shali (@PoojaShali) December 2, 2019
Thus, it appears Shivam Vij’s moral sermon report is based on lies and twisting of facts reported by others. It is not surprising given his past track record. He had earlier written a post on Facebook coaching liberals to engage in casteist politics to combat Hindutva. Shivam Vij’s earlier reports for The Print haven’t been paragons of accuracy as well. One day, he used to report that Narendra Modi losing the 2019 elections was a real possibility and after a few days, he declared that the Modi Wave in Uttar Pradesh was as strong as it was in 2014 and 2017. He had also declared Samajwadi Party supremo Akhilesh Yadav a ‘winner’ even before the elections had begun.