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Leftist news portal NewsClick does a sob story on illegal Rohingya Muslims of Jammu, ends up flagging off a security concern

NewsClick, which had received funding from US-based companies and entities associated with the Communist Party of China, posted an emotional video in favour of illegal Rohingya Muslims in Jammu.

On Thursday (April 28), the leftist media portal ‘NewsClick‘ courted controversy after it tried to stir emotional appeal for Rohingya Muslim immigrants, who are illegally staying in the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir in India.

NewsClick, which had received funding from US-based companies and entities associated with the Communist Party of China, posted a 5 minute 53 second long video about Rohingya Muslims on its Youtube channel.

The video began with the story of a man named Rabiul Alam, who illegally immigrated to India in 2010 from the Rakhine State of Myanmar. NewsClick alleged that Alam, a Rohingya refugee, was forced to sell his belongings due to harassment and intimidation from law enforcement authorities in the Jammu region.

“We will go where destiny takes us. We may go back to our country and die there,” an emotional Alam told the propaganda news outlet. NewsClick pointed out that around 10,000 Rohingya Muslims have been illegally living in Jammu. It claimed that about 150 Rohingya Muslims were detained in ‘verification drives’ in the past 2 years.

The news outlet claimed that the wife of an illegal Rohingya immigrant Johar Ali was detained in March 2021. She was allegedly separated from her 3 children and deported to Myanmar in March 2022.

NewsClick then claimed that the Jammu police had detained another illegal Rohingya immigrant, which forced his wife Hazra Khatun to raise a total of 7 children on her own. “We only had one earning hand, my husband and they detained him”, the woman was heard as saying.

One of the illegal Rohingya went on to claim that he and his family are facing more persecution in India than in Myanmar. To create hysteria about a ‘migrant crisis’, the leftist media outlet alleged, “There is uncertainty and fear of detention and deportation among the refugees. Because of that, most refugees remain confined to their camps. Some spend their days in the forests, hiding from authorities.”

News Click propaganda fails to make a mark

Far from achieving its desired objectives, NewsClick ended up exposing the security threat of illegal Rohingyas living in the country. The news outlet revealed that as many as 10,000 of them are staying in the Jammu region of India. It also showed how many of the illegal immigrants are hiding in forests and leaving for unknown destinations within India, thereby making them untraceable to the Indian government.

Opindia had earlier reported how in 2012, the erstwhile UPA government had turned a blind eye to the illegal immigration of Rohingya Muslims, due to domestic political pressure and international concern over human rights. As a result of this inflow, their numbers are pegged at about 40,000, which is excluding the 14,000 odd Rohingyas who are registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Their involvement in the recent Janhagipuri violence is also being probed. In November 2019, even the Bangladeshi PM Sheikh Hasina conceded that Rohingyas were a threat to the security of the entire region. She had therefore appealed to the international community to help resolve the issue.

Hasina had said, “In terms of regional security, I would like to say that more than 1.1 million Rohingya citizens of Myanmar fled to Bangladesh in the face of persecution and they are a threat to the security of not only Bangladesh but also the entire region.”

NewsClick also tried to portray the law enforcement authorities in Jammu as ‘villains’ for weeding out illegal immigrants from the Rakhine region of Myanmar. It is a common practice around the world to detain illegal immigrants and deport them with the consent of the host nation.

In April 2021, even the apex court of India refused to grant relief to illegal Rohingya immigrants who were detained in Jammu. Even the Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta had also submitted that deportations in India are done in accordance with the procedure established by law, and therefore it cannot violate Article 21 of the Constitution.

News Click received foreign funding, ED revealed

On February 9 last year, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) raided the home of News Click founder and Editor-in-Chief Prabir Purkayastha. According to the sources in ED, NewsClick had received ₹10 crores under Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from an American company.

Interestingly, Purkayastha had no idea why the American company had transferred the money to his company’s account. He could not give any proof of work that he had done for the particular company.

Further investigation revealed that another US-based company gave NewsClick ₹20 crores and marked it as ‘Export Remittance’. The money was transferred because NewsClick had uploaded content on a portal named People’s Dispatch.

Sources revealed that Purkayastha also took ₹1.5 crore rupees in the name of maintenance. Interestingly, he had hired a ninth-class pass electrician for maintenance at his office. The money he took was without any documentation, which made it impossible for him to explain the transaction to ED.

In July 2021, the ED informed that the investigation into the money laundering case against ‘NewsClick’ had revealed that the promoters of the media outlet received nearly ₹38 crores from entities, which might be associated with the Communist Party of China.

An officer probing the money laundering case revealed that NewsClick had financial dealings with a Sri Lankan-Cuban based businessman named Neville Roy Singham, who allegedly funnelled Rs 38 crore to PPK Newsclick Studio Pvt Ltd between 2018 and 2021 from abroad.

The officials, who had traced the money flow of the media outlet, said that Singham is associated with the propaganda arm of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

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Dibakar Dutta
Dibakar Dutta
Centre-Right. Political analyst. Assistant Editor @Opindia. Reach me at [email protected]

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