Indianese: He is misinformed and starkly deluded
Shashi Tharoor can totally charm you with his bearing and his language. The suave Tharoor will not have a hair out of place or appear even remotely suboptimal. Here’s news for him. Mr Tharoor, on Fahad Shah of Kashmir you are specious and sophistic. Indianese: You are wrong.
Tharoor can write a book on how facts are distorted by the media. He can produce a treatise on how conjectures are presented as the holy truth. He can even guide PhDs on how agenda-driven journalism normalizes disinformation. Tharoor experienced all of this and more when his charming and beautiful wife Sunanda Pushkar died in January 2014. Sunanda Pushkar’s death has been described as one of the most mysterious and controversial cases in recent times. For years, the media ran amok with conspiracy theories and allegations regarding her death, with Tharoor at the centre of them all. Having suffered distortion of facts by the media firsthand, it is astounding that Tharoor chooses to stand up for disinformation in the Parliament. Speaking during the Zero Hour 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 press in our country”. In his address during the Parliament session, Tharoor spoke about the importance of dissent in a vibrant democracy. “Journalists in Kashmir … or anywhere in India deserve to be able to do their job safely without fear of arrest or harassment”, he said.
Later speaking to a media person after the Parliament session, Tharoor said that in Kashmir, “…We have journalists being arrested for doing their job. Two Kashmiri journalists, Fahad Shah and Sajad Gul have been arrested…This is really a dangerous situation. It is being noticed around the world and by our own journalist bodies in India…the government should release the journalists forthwith and let them do their work,” he said. “There is no way that the government should be allowed to continue freely detaining, arresting journalists for various kinds of charges when all they have done is trying to do their own job,” Tharoor grandly announced. This sounds so noble. Such woke narratives. Tharoor seems truly pained. He holds forth with anguish that Fahad Shah, Editor of the magazine The Kashmir Walla has been detained and arrested when all he has done is trying to do his own job.
Really Mr. Tharoor? Have you done some reading on the distortions that Fahad Shah puts forth in his magazine in the guise of “doing his own job”? Have you examined the warped facts that Fahad Shah and his team peddle in the name of news reporting? Have you bothered to find out that Fahad Shah and team glorify and romanticize terrorism? Pakistan has made Kashmir a war zone. Are you aware, Mr. Tharoor, of the impact on Kashmiri youth when militancy is glorified or romanticized? The situation in Kashmir is not so simplistic that journalists are detained for “their critical reporting of the establishment”. In Kashmir, the enemy nation continues to indoctrinate and radicalize the vulnerable youth to pick up arms against the state in the name of jihad. Poor Kashmiris continue to lose their sons to the radical ideologies embedded by Pakistan. Are you aware that Fahad Shah And Co glorify terrorism and militancy? Are you aware that they whitewash the reality of terrorism in Kashmir and give it fancy labels like ‘The Resistance Of Our Boys’ and ‘Armed Rebels’? Are you aware, Mr. Tharoor, that because of the jingoism of Fahad Shah and Co, Kashmir society is deeply suffering? Are you aware that these so-called journalists refuse to wake up to the reality of terror? They provide the intellectual impetus to young men who find glory in picking up gun against the state and are lost to militancy and to narco-terrorism.
Fahad Shah and team are part of the same clique that is pushing the local vulnerable youth into the folds of militancy in their role as terror glorifiers and terror apologists. Mr. Tharoor makes the specious argument that in the name of national security, the space for media freedom has progressively eroded in Kashmir. Mr. Tharoor, Pakistan is incessantly trying to destabilize India using Kashmir. All responsible Parllimentarians, media bodies, and others must wake up to the ramifications of national security before they issue statements on journalism and media freedom in Kashmir. Let it be clear that the state is fighting jihadi radicalization embedded by Pakistan in Kashmir. The fear of the militants’ gun is so high that people are afraid to speak up. Pakistan has its strategic assets in all sections of the society and economy. The strategic assets of Pakistan are also in the media. They constantly peddle the Pakistan narrative on Kashmir. This is real and experienced in Kashmir. Please grasp it. All those who speak up for media freedom for Fahad Shah and his ilk must take personal guarantee for these terror apologists and their “journalism” before they speak up.
Through his magazine The Kashmir Walla, Fahad Shah has made concerted attempts to discredit the efforts of the state to give a safe and secure environment to the people of Kashmir. It needs to be noted that in a conflict region, deliberate distortion of news is not without agenda. This is part of the ISI strategy for Kashmir, which is carried forward by this clique of spin doctors in the Valley. Their effort is to create a cloud of suspicion against every effort to dismantle the terror network in Kashmir. There is a constant attempt to delegitimize such efforts. This is the strategy constantly adopted by so-called journalists like Fahad Shah. Such disinformation was largely ignored before August 5, 2019. Thereafter, the state became cognizant of the dangers of disinformation. The state took serious note of how disinformation is milked by Pakistan for pushing its agenda on Kashmir. Through his magazine The Kashmir Walla, Fahad Shah is playing the same barely concealed, insidious role in Kashmir. It is good, Mr. Tharoor, that the doings of Fahad Shah and Co are now being revealed. Courtesy the brouhaha over the detention and arrest of Fahad Shah, his dark designs masquerading as journalism are getting exposed. He was using his media platform to conveniently sell the Pakistan narrative in Kashmir. Mr. Tharoor, next time you stand up for Fahad Shah, remember Sunanda Pushkar. Remember that an insidious agenda cannot be labeled as journalism or even dissent.
The agenda-driven news reporting that glorifies and romanticizes terror has to be called out by the state. This isn’t about individual liberties or freedom of the press. This is about the right of Kashmiris to live a safe and secure life free of the narratives that Pakistan wants to spin in Kashmir. You may admit it or not, but it is truly about national security. Get it.