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George Soros backed hitjob against Amit Shah in The Guardian? Litany of lies, unverified anecdotes and a dubious writer

Despite his repeated insinuations, conjectures and surmises suggesting an invisible hand of Amit Shah in the Sheikh Sohrabuddin encounter, Atul Dev noted that there is no 'certainty' about his own claims.

Amid the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, The Guardian has yet again tried to cast aspersions on the state of Indian democracy under the Narendra Modi government. For this purpose, the British newspaper had roped in ‘journalist’ Atul Dev, sponsored by the George Soros-funded Pulitzer Centre.

On Friday (17th May), The Guardian published a hit piece (archive) titled ‘He likes scaring people’: how Modi’s right-hand man, Amit Shah, runs India‘ wherein it relied on brazen falsehoods and unverified anecdotes to target PM Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Saha.

At the very onset, ‘journalist’ Atul Dev peddled debunked lies about the infamous Sheikh Sohrabuddin case of 2005. He tried to whitewash Sheikh Sohrabuddin, a criminal who had links with the Islamic terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

Screengrab of The Guardian article

Atul Dev conveniently looked past the fact that Sohrabuddin was involved in several cases of murder and extortion. The propaganda artist shrewdly referred to the criminal as a ‘man’ in a bid to humanise him and suggested that his encounter by the Gujarat police was supposedly ‘staged.’

It is interesting to note that Atul Dev himself conceded in his article that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) considered Sohrabuddin a gangster and that the court absolved BJP leader Amit Shah of any wrongdoing.

Despite his repeated insinuations, conjectures and surmises suggesting an invisible hand of Amit Shah in the Sheikh Sohrabuddin encounter, Atul Dev noted that there is no ‘certainty’ about his own claims.

Reliance on hearsay

“It is worth noting that too many details are missing to say anything with certainty, but the government’s consistent obstruction of transparency and oversight in these cases has allowed suspicions to persist,” The Guardian report read.

The above-mentioned criminal, Sheikh Sohrabuddin, was neutralised by the Gujarat police on November 26, 2005. The then Congress-led UPA government at the Centre tried to implicate Amit Shah in the case falsely.

However, no charges against the BJP leader could be proved during the 9 years of UPA rule. The Judiciary found the case to be “politically motivated” and acquitted 22 other people. Despite the case being closed, Atul Dev is seen trying to rake up the case and peddle the same debunked claims.

The Guardian article relied on hearsay and unverified anecdotes to portray Amit Shah as a political leader, who is feared within the BJP.

Last year, a corporate lobbyist in Delhi told me a story: a cabinet minister in the Modi government had pocketed a small part of the donation a businessman had made to the party, thinking no one would find out, only to get a call from Shah, who had run into the businessman at the Delhi airport and tallied the figure. Shah apparently told the minister to deposit the rest of the amount in the party fund. I could never confirm this story, but whatever its truth, it captures how Indians view the home minister,” it read.

Pegasus lie repeated

Atul Dev also reiterated the bogus story surrounding the alleged purchase of an Israeli spyware named Pegasus by the Modi government to supposedly spy on rival political leaders.

In these managed interactions, Shah appears in command. Partly owing to his days in Gujarat and partly owing to the Indian government’s widely documented use of Israeli spyware to target journalists, activists and critics, the image of Shah in the public imagination is that of a man who holds everyone’s secrets,” he wrote.

In August 2022, India’s apex court noted that there was no conclusive proof to suggest that the Indian government was using the Pegasus spyware to snoop on people.

The then CJI, NV Ramana, had stated that the Supreme Court-appointed committee probing the matter did not find any Isralei spyware in the 29 mobile phones examined by it.

Lies about Gujarat riots

Atul Dev also peddled lies about the 2002 Gujarat riots such as the ‘knifing of bellies of pregnant women’ and conveniently ignored the pre-planned killing of 59 karsevaks by radical Muslim mobs.

He also raked up the murder of ex-BJP leader Haren Pandya and suggested that PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah were somehow involved in his killing without furnishing any evidence.

“The death of Haren Pandya was seen to be a warning shot. (Pandya’s wife has since publicly accused of Modi of involvement in Pandya’s death, which she described as a “political murder,” he claimed.

Attack on Judiciary and mental gymnastics

Atul Dev selectively cast aspersions on the Indian Judiciary to suggest that it is under the control of the Modi government (reference to Justice Loya case).

At the same time, he used the verdict of the Supreme Court in the electoral bond case to suggest that the Judiciary somehow exposed the ulterior motives of the government

The mental gymnastics is evident from the following lines –

In 2018, several petitioners appealed to the supreme court to order an investigation into the death of Loya. The court refused. The judgment was written by the current chief justice of India, DY Chandrachud. “Utterly wrong and jurisprudentially incorrect,” was how one retired judge of the Delhi high court described it,” Atul Dev had stated.

The same propaganda artist wrote in the context of electoral bonds, “In 2017, the government passed a bill to introduce a new form of political funding, known as electoral bonds. These were promissory notes that can be bought by individuals and corporations from the national bank, and given to a political party without disclosing the identity of the donor to the public. In February 2024 – after seven years, one national election and more than a dozen state elections – the supreme court struck down the scheme as unconstitutional.

He cited an Indian Today magazine report, which was critical of Amit Shah as evidence of his supposed complicity in the Sheikh Sohrabuddin case. Towards the end of his vicious piece, he suggested that the same India Today does not have the guts to ask hard questions out of fear of retribution.

Other fabrications by Atul Dev

The Guardian also roped in anti-India propagandists such as Arundhati Roy, former Amnesty India Head Aakar Patel to lend credence to the dubious claims made in the article.

Atul Dev tried to legitimise the disputed structure of Babri Masjid by ignoring the fact that it was built after destroying a Hindu temple of Ram Lalla. “In the late 1980s, the BJP was rallying around the issue of building a temple at the supposed birthplace of Ram, a Hindu deity, which they claimed was at the site of an old mosque in the town of Ayodhya,” he wrote.

He also whined about the abrogation of Article 370 and the complete integration of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir with the Union of India. Dev dubbed it as the implementation of the ‘RSS agenda in India’s only Muslim majority State.’

The propaganda artist also spread canards about the Citizenship Amendment Act which aims to fast-track the citizenship of religious minorities who took refuge in India following persecution in the neighbouring Islamic countries of Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“In October 2019, he pitched the idea of putting all 1.3 billion Indians through a citizenship test, in making a national register of citizens. To make clear the exclusionary purpose of his scheme, he floated the idea of a national register in conjunction with a new citizenship law, which would grant refugee status to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians coming to India from neighbouring countries. Muslims were to be pointedly excluded,” he wrote.

Atul Dev also tried to pass off the infamous 2020 Delhi riots as ‘anti-Muslim pogrom’ even though Hindus were killed in a planned manner during the carnage that lasted for 3 days.

“In Delhi, thousands of Muslim women occupied roads to get the state’s attention. Leaders of the BJP incited Hindu mobs to thrash them away. The mob, unimpeded by the police, ran riot in the national capital for three days. Dark plumes of smoke rose over Muslim neighbourhoods while Donald Trump was on a presidential visit in the city, drinking tea with Modi 10 miles away,” he wrote.

Atul Dev and his connection to George Soros

Atul Dev was not chosen for the hit piece on Narendra Modi and Amit Shah without any reason. His anti-India antecedents become crystal clear from his articles published in the leftist media rag, The Caravan.

Dev had previously attempted the disseminate the myth of ‘caste discrimination’ in the US through a propaganda piece titled ‘Modi’s visit focuses attention on caste discrimination in US.’

He had raked up the dubious CISCO case, which was voluntarily dismissed California Civil Rights Department (CRD) after it found no evidence of caste discrimination.

The propaganda artist also cited the case of Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) to allege discrimination against poor Dalit labourers.

OpIndia had reported how a dozen artisans, who withdrew their case, revealed that they were lured with the promise of green card to make the dubious allegations.

Atul Dev, who wrote the long vicious piece on Amit Shah, has received grants from the Pulitzer Centre, which in turn is funded by George Soros’ Open Society Foundations (OSF).

According to its own admission, the Pulitzer Centre received $900,000 (₹7.49 crores) from OSF. Interestingly, the article published in The Guardian is also sponsored by the same Pulitzer Centre. “Support for this article was provided by a grant from the Pulitzer Center,” reads a disclaimer at the bottom of The Guardian article.

Anti-India agenda of George Soros

India has been fighting a ‘perception war’ on all fronts since the start of 2023. On February 16 this year, George Soros exploited the Adani-Hindenburg controversy and launched a scathing attack on the Indian government.

He claimed, “Modi and business tycoon Adani are close allies. Their fate is intertwined…Adani Enterprises tried to raise funds in the stock market, but it failed. Adani is accused of stock manipulation and his stock collapsed like a house of cards.”

Soros accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of crony capitalism. “Modi is silent on the subject, but he will have to answer questions from foreign investors and in parliament,” he added.

The Hungarian-American billionaire also said that the ‘shakedown’ caused to the Indian markets due to the Hindenburg Research report will result in ‘much needed institutional reforms’ and ‘democratic revival’. 

George Soros and his vicious ecosystem of NGOs, activists and journalists had been trying to prove PM Modi as an ‘electoral autocrat’ who needed to be ousted for the ‘greater good’ of this country. And it has been a work in progress for a long time.

The Hungarian-American billionaire has also tried to use international institutions, which are funded by him, including Freedom House and  V-Dem (Varieties of Democracy) Institute to tarnish the image of India at a global level.

The Guardian and its fallacies

In April this year, The Guardian launched a campaign to tarnish the image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, brainwash the voters and influence the outcome of the polls.

In its desperate bid, the British newspaper published a contentious article (archive) on 4th April titled ‘Indian government ordered killings in Pakistan, intelligence officials claim.’

Screengrab of the article by The Guardian

It relied heavily on anonymous sources, particularly from the Pakistani intelligence, to demonise PM Modi as a facilitator of ‘extra-territorial killings.’ In doing so, The Guardian ended up acknowledging him as a defender of India’s security interests from external threats.

The article was authored by anti-India propagandist Hannah Ellis-Petersen, Aakash Hassan and Pakistani ‘journalist’ Shah Meer Baloch.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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

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