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From farmer protests to toolkit, Rihanna and communalism: ‘The Australian’ uses its cricket section to run anti-India propaganda

Although a malicious article by 'The Australian daily' will not change the global perception about India, it is becoming evident with each passing day that the anti-India lobby will not leave any stone unturned in their nefarious pursuit.

Amidst the anti farm law protests, several anti-India forces have come forward to tarnish the global image of the country. With a common objective in mind, several international media houses, activists, politicians, and artists have peddled anti-India propaganda to the world in the past few days.

In a new development, ‘The Australian’ daily has decided to follow suit by masking a malicious narrative about India under the garb of ‘cricket analysis’. The sport of cricket is often used as a diplomatic leverage to strengthen ties with other countries. After PM Modi came to power, Australia has become one of the key strategic partners of India. The passion for cricket has been one of the unifying factors between the two nations.

In a bid to brainwash its predominantly Australian reader base, ‘journalist’ Gideon Haigh wrote an article on Friday that featured in the ‘Cricket’ section of The Australian. In the 1000-word piece titled ‘Ugly trend that can poison Indian cricket’, Haigh touched upon a myriad of topics and presented his prejudiced and myopic understanding of complex issues as ‘oversimplified facts’. He talked about the ongoing farmer protests, political appointments to BCCI, India’s alleged diminishing space for dissent, Rihanna and more.

Screengrab of the article

Journalist shares his pre-conceived notions as facts

In the article, he alleged, “Unfortunately, India is a democracy in worsening decay, thanks to seven years of the BJP’s Hindu majoritarianism, at odds with the country’s traditions of pluralism and tolerance. And that’s got implications for cricket, even Australian cricket, of which we should be aware. The ruling BJP’s modus operandi is demonising minorities, subverting institutions, intimidating media, criminalising dissent and, not least, tyrannising the internet.”

He further claimed that the BJP engages in vicious online trolling of liberal celebrities, independent journalists and academics who don’t toe their line. While the motivating lobby casts aspersions about Indian democracy, the country has been successfully conducting free and fair elections. Far from demonising minorities, government schemes have benefitted all sections of society. Every day, the liberal ecosystem goes on a tirade against the ruling dispensation, often resorting to fake news, but with no legal and social consequences. However, for the outsider Gideon Haigh, India’s democracy must be in danger.

The Australian’ lies about the farm laws

The journalist continued his vicious tirade against India and claimed that the Indian government violated all ‘constitutional’ and ‘parliamentary’ rules to get the three farm laws passed. It must be mentioned that the law was passed by the Lok Sabha (Lower House of the Parliament) on September 17 and Rajya Sabha (Upper House of the Parliament) on September 20 last year. The bill received the assent of Indian President Ram Nath Kovind on September 27, 2020. Contrary to the claims by the Australian daily, all due constitutional procedures were followed for passing the law.

“The laws were devoid of regulatory and legal protections for farmers, and as such a prescription for monopoly abuse, in a country where a score of companies already earn 70 per cent of corporate profits,” alleged ‘journalist’ Gideon Haigh. However, these laws are not designed to serve corporates but the farmers who now have more flexibility to get a fair price for their produce. Even IMF Chief Economist Gita Gopinath said, “Farm bills and labour bills are very important steps in the right direction.”

Journalist whitewashes violence and anarchy as peaceful protests

“Demonstrations have been largely peaceful, if on an epic scale: a one-day strike in November involving 250 million people may well be the largest single protest in history, involving ten times as many people as marched for Black Lives Matter last year. One exception was 26 January, India’s Republic Day, when 200 farmers were “detained” by Delhi’s notoriously violent police after diverting a march to the Red Fort,” he alleged.

However, it was on the occasion of Republic Day when rioters under the garb of ‘peaceful farmer protestors’ desecrated the Indian tricolour, waved the Khalistani flag, attacked the police while the so-called ‘violent police’ personnel sustained grave injuries and exercised restraint in the face of aggression.

While continuing his concerted effort at whitewashing perpetrators of violence as victims, the article on the Australian daily said, “The same cops then created a cause célèbre by arresting a 22-year-old activist, Disha Ravi, basically for having the temerity to communicate with Greta Thunberg, which was described as showing intent “to wage economic, social, cultural and regional war against India.”

As a matter of fact, Disha has not been arrested for her activism but instead for her association with infamous Khalistani outfit Poetic Justice Foundation co-founder Mo Dhaliwal. She has also been accused of co-creating the nefarious toolkit, designed to create disharmony in the country. In accordance with the law, she has been sent to judicial custody.

The Australian’ casts aspersions about the integrity of Indian cricketers

Journalist Gideon Haigh then joined the likes of India’s left-liberal activists in hailing Rihanna and slamming the Indian government for asking Twitter to block pro-Khalistan accounts. The Australian, unaware about India’s struggle against the fallible Khalistan movement, claimed, “Modi promptly upped the ante, threatening to jail Twitter’s local executives if Jack Dorsey did not suppress 100 allegedly “pro-farmer” accounts; Dorsey hastily capitulated.”

The motivated journalist then suggested that India’s cricket board has somehow been ‘pervaded by Modi’s myrmidons’. This is despite the fact that India always had a political appointee in the form of Rajiv Shukla and Sharad Pawar as the BCCI President, unlike now, when the coveted post is occupied by an actual cricketer aka Saurav Ganguly. He claimed that India’s cricketing elites such as Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Rahane and Rohit Sharma echoed ‘BJP’s talking points’ when they came out in support for #IndiaAgainstPropaganda.

The Australian plays the ‘Muslim card’ to draw global sympathy

Former cricketer Wasim Jaffer has been in the spotlight recently for allegedly favouring Muslim players in team during his stint as the coach of the Uttarakhand team. Several people had alleged that he had called a Maulvi to the dressing room for prayers, a claim which the player has rejected. Citing interference from the State cricket Association, he had tendered his resignation on February 10.

Using the religious identity of Wasim Jaffer as the foundation of the argument, The Australian alleged, “Jaffer, though, is a Muslim. So Verma trumped-up counterclaims of “communalism”: Jaffer’s preference for coreligionists. This is a classic trope of Hindu chauvinism, obsessed with the existence of a Muslim fifth column.”

However, Cricket Association of Uttarakhand (CAU) secretary Mahim Verma had himself clarified, “no religious overtones in the matter of the resignation and the move came purely due to cricketing differences over choice of players.” He further added, “My statement has been misinterpreted and the allegations of communal bias against Wasim Jaffer are baseless. We have many Muslim players and staffers in the CAU.”

While ‘The Australian’ chose to engage in religion-baiting, hoping to strike a chord with the liberal lobby, here is what former Indian batsman Mohammed Kaif said – “I have worried about lack of runs, motivated my team-mates in bad form, wondered about how to win games. Never have I gone to sleep wondering what a team-mate might think of my religion.”

Although a malicious article by The Australian daily will not change the global perception about India, it is becoming evident with each passing day that the anti-India lobby will not leave any stone unturned in their nefarious pursuit.

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