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As Hindus get killed in Kashmir, AltNews declares threat letter to “kafirs” as fake: From ‘no signature’ to ‘misspellings’

AltNews has mostly been seen as an Islamist propaganda website that often whitewashes the crimes of violent mobs and shields perpetrators who belong to the Muslim community. The running theory was that just as all ‘liberals’, AltNews too harbours a deep-seated hatred for Hindus and considers Islamists as an ally in their crusade against the ‘Kaffirs’.

On the 14th of April, a letter by terror organisation Lashkar-e-Islam surfaced, where Islamists issued threats to the Kashmiri Hindu community. The letter of threat named ‘Letter to kafirs’ said, “Leave the valley or face dire consequences”, threatens the letter giving a final warning to Kashmiri Pandits, migrants and ‘RSS agents’”. The letter further stated that Kashmiri Hindus would be killed and sent to hell for disobeying their diktat and nobody including PM Modi or Amit Shah will be able to save them.

The warning letter to all the ‘non-Muslims’ also noted that they are being watched by ‘followers of Allah’ and that they will have to convert if they want to stay in Kashmir. “You are being watched by followers of Allah. One by one, all of you will be killed and sent to hell. Every Kashmiri Pandit will die. Kashmir is only for those who accept & follow Allah”, it reads.

Given that Hindus in Kashmir have been the target of Islamists since the 1990s and that they continue to be killed, the letter came as yet another reminder of how fragile peace was in Kashmir and how non-Muslims still live under the shadow of the infamous slogan “Raliv, Galiv, Chaliv”.

While the chilling letter made news along with the shooting of Hindus like Satish Kumar Singh, the usual suspects proceeded to indulge in staggering mental gymnastics to whitewash the threat made by Islamists to the “Kafirs” of Kashmir.

AltNews, which regularly spreads fake news in the garb of “fact-checking” and shields Islamists professionally, published a “fact-check” claiming that the threat letter was a fake one. In doing so, AltNews relied on ad hominem, dismissing the version from the ground and rhetorics that were in no way sufficient to claim that the threat letter was fake.

What AltNews argued, to claim that the threat letter to Kashmiri Hindus was fake

AltNews began its “fact-check” by starting with Vivek Agnihotri’s tweet about the letter. With Kashmir Files in the focus, a movie that details the atrocities suffered by Hindus of the valley, AltNews probably thought that discrediting Agnihotri upfront would also serve a larger purpose. They then go on to detail other media outlets that they may not particularly agree with to subtly make the point about “right-wing” publications sharing the news of the threat letter.

They then trace back the origin of the letter to the Sarpanch of Kulgam.

At this point, AltNews admits that the Sarpanch of Kulgam said that the threat letter was received by post by Kashmiri Hindus.

It writes:

“This is the earliest tweet carrying the letter that Alt News could find. We spoke with Vijay Raina, who is a sarpanch of Kulgam. “I am in touch with Kashmiri Pandit settlements living in Kashmir under PM package jobs. I received the letter from a resident of Veervan colony in Baramulla district,” he said, adding that as per his knowledge, the letter was delivered by a postman”.

At this point, AltNews gets confirmation from the Sarpanch himself that the threat letter was delivered by post to the Hindus of Kashmir living in the Veervan colony of Baramullah.

At this time, for any reliable news outlet, the news report would have concluded. There is a copy of the letter and a conformation by the village head that the letter was indeed received by the Hindus by post.

However, that was not the answer AltNews was looking for.

After quoting the Sarpanch, AltNews proceeds to indulge in mental gymnastics to prove that Islamists had not threatened “Kafirs” evenjhough Hindus were being killed in the valley as they wrote the article.

AltNews relied on 5 points to make their case, proving that the letter was fake.

  1. The letter was unsigned
  2. Lashkar-e-Islam is misspelt
  3. The logo on the top left corner of the letter is of Jamaat-e-Dawa Pakistan
  4. A letter with identical letterhead was circulating in 2016
  5. The letter has factual inaccuracies

How AltNews “fact-check”, done to whitewash Islamists does not make sense

First and foremost, it is important to understand that AltNews started its “fact-check” by citing a confirmation by the Sarpanch. If there was no agenda behind the fact-check and the intention was to do a genuine inquiry, the news report would have ended as soon as the Sarpanch confirmed the existence of the letter.

After mentioning the confirmation by the Sarpanch, AltNews went on to cite 5 reasons why they thought the letter was fake. The first of the lot was that the letter was unsigned. They said that the letter might be fake because the name of the “commander” of Lashkar-e-Islam was not there. Perhaps AltNews believes that Islamist, terror outfits function like corporates, much like AltNews, but the reality is far from it. Just because they did not follow the etiquettes of formal letter writing, does not mean the letter is fake, given that it has been issued by illiterate terrorists.

The second reason cited by AltNews is that the name of Lashkar-e-Islam is misspelt. AltNews claims that it is “unthinkable” that the terror outfit would misspell their own name. Firstly, terror outfits usually write their name in Urdu, a fact that AltNews itself testifies to in one of the later points where they detail an old, similar letter. Secondly, they base this on the fact that the Pakistan government website uses “e” instead of “a”. So Pakistan writes “Lashkar” instead of “Lashker”. And since the vowel is different in the letter, the letter must be fake.

They go on to point out that the logo of Laskhar-e-Islam is different, while the logo on the letter is that of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the Pakistani terror outfit. Given that all of these Kashmiri terror outfits are indeed funded by Pakistan, one should not really be surprised that one could see the imprint of Hafeez Saeed’s party in the threat letter, however, for AltNews, it became an excuse to claim that the letter was fake.

AltNews then goes on to claim that a letter with the same letterhead was circulating in 2016. Now here is where the mental gymnastics gets entertaining. They claim that in the 2016 letter, an Islamic verse was incomplete in the letter, and therefore, the current letter on the same letterhead must be fake. Essentially, they say that it is impossible that terrorists would write an incomplete Islamic slogan and therefore, not only was the 2016 letter fake but the current one is fake too (since it appears on the same letterhead). The argument is so ridiculous that one does not even need to counter it, however, one can be thankful that in the process of whitewashing terrorists, AltNews did end up admitting that Islamic terrorists would certainly know Islamic slogans and verses, thereby negating the age-old liberal trope of terrorists not being true Muslims.

Last but not the least, AltNews “fact-checks” the contents of the letter, saying that it had factual inaccuracies. One would be inclined to believe that perhaps AltNews was upset that terror outfits are not hiring them for fact-checking their content and this could be seen as a round-about job application. Nevertheless, Altnews claims that since the terror outfit was “factually incorrect”, the letter must be fake.

AltNews quotes this part of the letter to make its point.

Part of the letter cited by AltNews

AltNews says that both Nischal and Bindroo were killed recently, and Lashkar-e-Islami had not taken responsibility for it. In this para, AltNews thinks that they are taking responsibility for the killings and therefore, the letter must be fake.

From the language of the letter, it is evident that they might not be taking responsibility for the killings but merely talking about killing Kafirs as taking care of “unfinished business” from the 1990s. In fact, when Islamists and terrorists say “we”, they generally refer to the Ummah, which is the universal Muslim brotherhood, not their specific terror outfits. Here, the terror outfit is probably talking about Islamists taking collective revenge from “Kafirs” of Kashmir and not specifically about their own terror outfit.

For AltNews, however, these innocuous details become their excuse to whitewash a dangerous threat letter against Hindus of the valley.

AltNews has mostly been seen as an Islamist propaganda website that often whitewashes the crimes of violent mobs and shields perpetrators who belong to the Muslim community. The running theory was that just as all ‘liberals’, AltNews too harbours a deep-seated hatred for Hindus and considers Islamists as an ally in their crusade against the ‘Kaffirs’. It was often assumed that their hate for Prime Minister Narendra Modi too stems from their hatred for Hindus. However, with the India-China standoff and AltNews’ reportage of it, it is becoming exceedingly clear that their hate for PM Modi and Hindus and gone a step ahead and transformed into unbridled hate for India itself.

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