PANIC, NOW THAT THEIR SUBTERFUGE IS GETTING EXPOSED
I have a journalist friend in Delhi. Mou Sarkar. For the last couple of weeks, she had been asking me repetitively that her two ‘journalist friends’ in Srinagar want to meet me, and that I should connect with them. I was in Jammu, so I could not accede to her request. Incidentally, when I came to Srinagar some days ago, she again asked me to meet her journalist friends here. I asked her which media house are they working for, and what are their names.
She said I don’t know the media house or their names. Please meet them. I told her Okay, tell them to come to my office. When these two journalists landed at my office, I found that they were from the local magazine Kashmir Walla. I was perplexed about why they should want to meet me. After doing some small talk, they stated what they had come for. Fahad ko nikalne mein madad karo. Help us in getting Fahad released. For those not in the know, Fahad Shah is the Editor of Kashmir Walla. He had been arrested by J&K Police on February 4. The police statement said that Fahad has been arrested for glorifying terrorism, spreading fake news and inciting the general public for creating law and order situations. In addition, he has been arrested for social media posts tantamount to glorifying terrorist activities and causing dent to the image of law enforcing agencies “besides causing ill-will and disaffection against the country.”
Now men from Fahad Shah’s team are requesting me to get him released. The messaging carries significance.
Journalism Bankrolled By Pakistan In Kashmir
I have nothing personal against Fahad Shah. My concern is the kind of journalism he has carried on with for years with seeming impunity. A journalism where lies and half-lies are sold as truth. A journalism where fraudsters and imposters like Khurram Pervez are projected as human rights protectors. A journalism where pillars of the terror ecosystem in Kashmir – including some prominent local lawyers – are built up as the conscience keepers of Kashmir. This kind of journalism flourished in Kashmir because it was lavishly bankrolled by Pakistan and embedded by the terrorists’ guns. This journalism has consistently sold the Pakistan narrative for Kashmir domestically, nationally and internationally. Fahad Shah, through his magazine, perfected the Pakistan narrative on Kashmir where Kashmir must always be projected as bleeding and oppressed. This is the narrative where terrorism and militancy are whitewashed. Actions of the security agencies against militants and over-ground workers are discredited by spinning yarns around so-called “multiple and conflicting versions”.
“THINKERS” IN MAINLAND INDIA QUICK TO FORM OPINION ON KASHMIR BASED ON INFO FED BY LOCAL CONTACTS
The so-called “independent thinkers” of the mainland have zero appreciation that Kashmir is a huge industry for all those who gain from the conflict here. Without having any real understanding of the dynamics that drive Kashmir, these “independent thinkers” base their opinions on some specific versions on Kashmir given by their contacts in Kashmir, their Facebook friends or others. Then they become judge and jury on what ails Kashmir and start propagating their opinions. Are these “thinkers” aware of the insidious propaganda carried out by the so-called journalists that they stand up for? Do they know of how poisonous and dangerous these narratives are in indoctrinating the local youth? Sitting in their comfortable cities, they connect with some friends and start believing these single-story narratives on Kashmir. I concede that this is not done intentionally. Many of these “independent thinkers” may innocently fall into the trap of the terror ecosystem. In this way, they unwittingly start amplifying the voice of the terror ecosystem. But in a conflict region where the indoctrinated youth take to the path of violence and get killed, the choices one makes and the standpoints one takes must be carefully studied.
THE THAROOR ACT ON KASHMIR
Fahad Shah’s call for his magazine is ‘Support Independent Journalism’. Such woke phraseology is all it takes for so-called independent thinkers to stand up and oppose Fahad Shah’s arrest and demand his release. One such “independent thinker” is MP Shashi Tharoor. Speaking in the Parliament on February 11, Tharoor demanded the “immediate and unconditional” release of Kashmir journalists Fahad Shah and Sajad Gul “in the interest of preserving the freedom of the press in our country”. Some other “independent thinkers” joined Tharoor in supposedly standing up for freedom of the media in Kashmir by demanding Fahad’s release. Tharoor and Co must closely study the journalism that Fahad Shah and his ilk pursue in Kashmir before demanding his immediate and unconditional arrest. They are not alone. I often encounter this warped thinking on Kashmir, and it perplexes me every time.
CHALLENGING THE IDEOLOGICAL HEGEMONY OF KASHMIR’S TERROR ECOSYSTEM
Beginning November 2020, we started challenging the ideological hegemony of the terror ecosystem in Kashmir. First with MAC Letter, our digital newsletter; then our digital magazine KZINE, and now with KASHMIR CENTRAL, we have consistently exposed the machinations of the terror players and the dynamics that drive Kashmir. Our efforts are part of our conviction that the counter-narrative on terrorism and Kashmir’s terror ecosystem must be driven by the locals. Fahad Shah and Co have romanticized terrorism and militancy as the “resistance of our boys”. This subterfuge is being questioned and exposed now.