By M D Nalapat
As yet the Central government seems unaware of the extent to which there has been GHQ-ISI penetration of so-called Hindu outfits.
Worried at the growing distance between Islamabad and Washington and the readiness of Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India to craft a security partnership with the United States, GHQ Rawalpindi tasked the ISI with working out and putting into operation a plan designed to smear the image of India with the colours of “intolerance” and “fascist majoritarianism”. This, it was hoped, would ensure that the US administration would adopt a cold posture towards Modi, the way Bill Clinton did with P.V. Narasimha Rao. It was also planned to generate through motivated NGO-reporting that India would come to be regarded in the US, and much of the EU, as a country with values and systems wholly contrary to their own. Since beginning work on the project “Operation Smear Modi’s India” in November 2014, after it became clear that Modi’s concessions to Pakistan would not dilute security interests, the ISI has been successful in locating several hundred funders for the project, most of whom are non-resident Pakistanis, plus citizens of those GCC states that officially encourage Wahhabism. Thus far, credible estimates are that around $218 million has been expended in “Operation Smear”, and it must be acknowledged that there has been some success in this effort. Note the several dozen articles and news reports in globally prestigious publications such as Washington Post, New York Times, Guardian, the Economist and others (especially in German and Arabic media) that portray India as a cesspool of discrimination against several elements of the population. These alleged victims include minorities, Dalits, women and children. The actions of cow vigilantes (some of whom have been receiving funding from sources having access to GHQ-ISI cash through Dubai, Kathmandu and Bangkok) have been particularly helpful in seeking to showcase India as a nation filled with Hindu bigots, indulging in murder and mayhem at the slightest provocation. The effort to “prove” that the Hindu population is as much a reservoir of terrorists and fanatics as the Wahhabi population in Pakistan, has a long history, beginning with the initial planting of “Hindu terror” stories in sections of the Indian media in 2002, but has been accelerated since the close of 2014. Interestingly, in almost every report on lynching of minorities (any such deed on the majority community is airbrushed over, as it goes counter to the created narrative of a fanatic and crazed majority), the blame is placed at Prime Minister Modi’s office door, despite law and order being a state subject. The ISI is also using its channels of communication with the global media to accuse India of being the aggressor with Pakistan and China, and of “interference” in Afghanistan. Widespread use is being made of social media to reinforce such views on the world’s most populous democracy, and clumsy counters by boorish trolls are only having a negative effect on global perceptions.
The main plank of “Operation Smear” is that (a) there is zero religious freedom in India for minorities, including Christians, Sikhs and Muslims. This line is being pushed by NGOs based in the US, Canada and Europe. In the US, several of the NGOs pushing this line are close to the dominant Clinton establishment of the Democratic Party, although there are others as well that are linked to proselytizing religious organisations in some of the southern states of the US, and which are Republican in their preferences. What they are seeking is a license to defame traditional faiths and convert on an industrial scale. This the present government opposes as having the potential to severely disrupt social harmony. Interestingly, these very NGOs have remained silent on the actual genocide of Yazidis, Druze, Shias and Christians taking place in Iraq and Syria at the hands of those Wahhabi organisations which have received cash and weaponry from within NATO, or on the inhuman suffering of the population of Yemen as a consequence of bombardments from air and land that are directed by US monitors assisting Wahhabi groups in that country, to overpower the rest. And unsurprisingly, the terror unleashed by illegal Bangladeshi migrants in parts of Bengal are being largely ignored by the international media, as is that caused by the “freedom fighters” in Syria, Libya and Iraq who kill Shias, Christians and other non-Wahhabis routinely, to silence from media outlets regularly apoplectic about conditions in India.
(b) That Dalits are being discriminated against in India, and their rights and practices affected is another plank. The leadership in this part of “Operation Smear” is being taken by certain Netherlands-based NGOs that have maintained silence so far on the systematic discrimination faced by the Romany community throughout Europe, as a consequence of which Romany employment and education rates (not to mention income) are far below national averages in EU member states. Making out Una and Saharanpur to be the norm, rather than the exception, keeps the spotlight away from discriminatory practices against the Romany community in Europe, as well as the squalid conditions in which those who have been forced to relocate from Syria, Libya and other Muslim-majority states—as a consequence of the Bush-Clinton-Sarkozy-Hollande-Cameron wars—are living in so-called human rights havens.
(c) NGOs based in the UK have been particularly active in portrayals of India as a country rife with bonded labour, child slavery and sex slavery. An examination of such entities will show close relationships with politicians and members of civil society in the UK that are active in seeking to delink Kashmir from the rest of India by fair means or foul. Recently, joining hands with like groups in Canada, particular UK NGOs have been raising the issue of Khalistani independence. Of course, given the connections with the ISI and its financial accomplices, the “Khalistan” sought is entirely within the territory of the Republic of India, even though it was in territory now in Pakistan that massacres of innocent Sikhs was rampant during 1947 and 1948, and to this day, Sikh shrines in Pakistan do not have anywhere near the autonomy they enjoy in India.
(d) Interestingly, websites and organisations linked to particular political parties in India have joined parts of this campaign, especially in the matter of women’s rights and what they describe as a torrent of violence against women since 2014. Facebook platforms and Twitter posts have been particularly ubiquitous in this context. Since 2015, there has been increasing emphasis on tribal concerns, as also press freedom. Interestingly, several online publications based in India are themselves in the forefront of those alleging the absence of press freedom in India. These are the reverse of complimentary to the Modi government but they and their financial backers continue the tirade unmolested. Of course, it is a fact that thus far the record of the NDA II government in ensuring the conditions needed for press freedom have been less than complete. For example, criminal defamation (an odious colonial legacy) still gets routinely deployed by suspect officials and politicians to scare into silence the media, while Information Technology and other statutes work against the transparency needed to fight corruption in India and have not been eliminated by the new government, nor has RTI been freed of the grip of babudom.
An unceasing objective of GHQ “Black Propaganda” has been to depict the situation in Kashmir as “genocide”. However, now that violent deeds have become commonplace in Europe, there is less enthusiasm there to lecture India about the countermeasures being taken to constrain, contain and reduce terrorist violence in the state. Incidentally, these measures are far less kinetic than those employed by NATO members in similar situations. Neither are aircraft or even helicopters used, although several experts regard these measures as needing to be introduced in specific situations in Kashmir.
However, largely as a consequence of the energetic foreign policy of Prime Minister Modi, “Operation Smear” is not having the intended effect of taking the shine off the India story globally. Most global policy makers perceive that the faults being mentioned are not systemic, but sporadic. Of course, as yet the Central government seems unaware of the extent to which there has been GHQ-ISI penetration of so-called “Hindu” outfits, and how some of these are being goaded into violence that is causing harm to the image of India and indeed, that of the Hindu community. Earlier, this correspondent had pointed out how there was a systematic effort by elements linked to the ISI to vandalise Christian churches. These days, it is clear that the actual motivators of the criminal and terroristic acts of violence seen in the lynchings of those exercising their right to a diet of their choice, are in Dubai, Karachi, Bangkok and Kathmandu, with many close to the ISI operatives in these locations.
Whatever be the religion they profess, the ISI’s agents in India need to be identified and prosecuted, if “Operation Smear” is to fail comprehensively and India recognised as the inevitable next superpower, after the US and China. The “false flag” covert operations of GHQ-ISI in India need to be exposed and eliminated.