Malala Yousafzai, the youngest Nobel Prize laureate and a ‘human rights activist’, has now been the subject of yet another controversy. The India section on the official website of Malala Fund, an organisation founded by her that supposedly fights for girls’ education, carries a distorted map of India which conveniently excludes Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, China occupied Kashmir and the State of Arunachal Pradesh from the Indian territory.
While the map of India had been depicted in an uncanny dark green colour, the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir has been separated with a lighter shade of green. The objective was to mark the territory as disputed. Similarly, the State of Arunachal Pradesh where China lays its claims has also been marked as a disputed territory.
The region of Aksai Chin, now under Chinese occupation, has been marked in grey. Interestingly, the Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK) has been shown as the territory of Pakistan. Kashmir, an integral part of India, includes both the POK and the China-Occupied Kashmir (COK) region. However, the website of the Malala Fund clearly violates the official rules that prevent distortion of the map of Arunachal Pradesh, besides making it compulsory to show both the occupied Kashmir territories as part of India, as the organisation is working in India.
Legal consequences of distorting Indian map
In 2016, a new bill under the Geospatial Information Regulation Bill was proposed by the Central Government wherein depiction of Indian map without POK or Arunachal Pradesh could lead to a 7-year jail term along with a penalty of ₹100 crores. Under 69A of the Information Technology (IT) Act, such websites could be blocked by the Government of India. “No person shall depict, disseminate, publish or distribute any wrong or false topographic information of India including international boundaries through internet platforms or online services or in any electronic or physical form,” noted the provision in the bill.
Malala spreads fake news about Kashmir
Malala Yousafzai, who otherwise remains silent fearing Islamists and Pakistani establishment, earlier tweeted that she was concerned about alleged reports of 4,000 people, including children, arbitrarily arrested and jailed in Kashmir and called on leaders to work towards peace in Kashmir. She claimed that she spoke to three Kashmiri girls, who said to her that the current situation in Kashmir was of ‘complete silence’ and said that all they could hear was the steps of troops outside their windows which was ‘really scary’.According to Malala, one of the three girls missed her exams on August 12. However, August 12 was a notified holiday declared across India on the occasion of Bakr Id or Eid ul-Adha.