The Kashmir Crisis and the Information War against India

Jammu and Kashmir - Wikipedia

On 5 August the Indian government issued a presidential decree abrogating Article 370 of the Constitution which granted special status to the disputed Jammu Kashmir region, a territory claimed by both India and Pakistan.

But the international press coverage of this story has been almost universally hostile and one-sided. It has been practically impossible to find out from the international press reports what the Indian Government’s side of the story. The BBC, Aljazeera, New York Times, CNN have all joined the Pakistani government in condemning India’s “invasion” of Kashmir. Many pundits are even predicting that the move could cause a nuclear war. But how is it possible that an emerging superpower could be completely silenced in the international press? What geopolitical and ideological interests at stake?

The Indian Government’s view

In a video posted online the Indian Ambassador to the United States, Harsh Vardhan Shringla clarified his government’s position. In 1947 the region of Jammu and Kashmir became part of the Union of India. Article 370 of the Indian constitution was a temporary measure which granted special status to the region, thus facilitating its integration into the Union of India.

Under the new administrative re-organisation, the region will have its own legislative assembly and chief minister, and its citizens will have the same rights as other Indians. For example, recent legislation protecting women from marital violence will now also apply to Jammu and Kashmir.

The administrative reorganisation also empowers women, as they will now be able to inherit property if they marry outside the region and can fully participate in local politics. The Indian government hopes to transform Jammu and Kashmir into a major tourist hub.

With temples and shrines dotting the pristine landscape, Kashmir has always been the home of Hindu culture; it is to India what Crimea is to Russia: an integral and essential part of the Indian nation.

Under the new arrangements, disadvantaged minorities such as the Gurjar and Bakarwal will benefit from India’s affirmative action legislation which was enacted to protect and promote the rights of ethnic minorities.

The recent moves by the Indian Government will greatly increase investment and industrial development in the region. Previous government spending in the region was wasted on top-down administrative polices; it did not benefit ordinary workers. The abrogation of Article 370 should stimulate small to medium businesses.

The Indian Agricultural Federation will purchase apples from the region which will improve the lives of almost a million farmers. The Indian Government is organising a major investment conference in October. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that the only thing Article 370 brought to Jammu and Kashmir region is nepotism and terrorism, secessionism and corruption. That is pretty much the gist of what India’s Ambassador to the United States said. Let’s call it the position of India’s defence lawyer. For the moment, that is all we will say about it. Now, let us turn to the accusations of international media and NGOs.

India’s “crackdown”

 Report after report in the international press tells the story of a “brutal crackdown” and military curfew in Jammu and Kashmir. Human rights groups, in particular, Amnesty International, have denounced a series of high-profile arrests and detentions; the UN Human Rights Council has condemned India’s actions and the government of Pakistan has called on the International Community to intervene.

The Indian government was forced to cut communications in some parts of Kashmir due to the international disinformation campaign waged by Pakistan which formed the basis of the entire international press coverage. If there is any lesson the Indian government needs to learn here, it is this: they need to invest in the infowar!

Jammu and Kashmir’s “freedom fighters”

Let’s have a look at some of the reports. Vice News has a report entitled: “Kashmir’s Rebellious Youth Face a Central Government Takeover of their State.” We see thousands of youths protesting the military occupation. The scenes of violence on the streets resemble confrontations between the Israeli Defence Forces and Palestinians.

It is instructive to understand that whenever Muslims attempt to portray themselves as victims, the Palestinian/Israeli analogy is invoked.

Vice News tells us, “Insurgents in Kashmir have been fighting Indian rule; they want independence or to be part of Pakistan.” The reporter speaks to the “Muslim protesters” who are disguised due to “fear of retaliation.”

The young men say they are fighting for a good cause. Then the camera shows us a clip of them protesting for their good cause. We see them in balaclavas shouting “Allahu Akbar » in front of a flag of the Islamic State! They hold slogans which say “ No, to democracy, we want Khalifate.”

As they shout, “ We want an Islamic State”, the voiceover says that these poor innocent victims of Indian colonialism have “no safe way” to voice their objections! This is an extremely serious accusation against the Indian government. Did the reporters verify this information? Did they consult Indian officials to find out if it is indeed true that there is no safe way of voicing objections to Indian rule in Kashmir? No!

The Jihadists and Islamic State terrorists which Vice News presents as innocent victims of Indian police say they are hit by plastic pellets whenever they attempt to demonstrate peacefully. But that is not the Indian government’s view of the matter. The Indian government says they are shot when they attack the police. The fact that the protesters are openly supporters of terrorists might just lend some credence to the Indian government’s view. But we do not even hear it. No Indian government official is interviewed; no official statement of the government is reported.

Then, the reporters focus on one of the Jihadist victims of the police. His family say he was shot; the police say he died from his own grenade. We have no way of knowing the cause of the boy’s death. But Vice News wants us to hear what his friends have to say. The Indian police are called “oppressors, merciless animals”, etc. The reporter constantly reminds us that India’s ruling party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are “hardline.”

Now, we finally get to hear the Government’s point of view on the youth’s death. A BJP “hardline” spokesman says, “ I believe the police’s account 100%. If he was innocent, if he was clean, he should have been home at the time. It was Eid.”

But we are left in no doubt about who the good guys and bad guys are in this report: the good guys are youths who oppose democracy and glorify terrorism; the bad guys are the Indian government.

We could multiply the above analysis by a thousand for all the other international press reports on this issue. The Indian government says Pakistan is fomenting terrorism and unrest in Kashmir.

After the Indian government’s abrogation of Article 370, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency launched a global media campaign using sophisticated software and social media. But why did the international press take their side? To answer that question, we need to look at a broader ideological problem.

Islamo-Leftist alliance

Much of the disinformation about Kashmir comes from the fake, corporate-funded “alternative” media. The US Ford Foundation and Soros-financed Democracy Now! news channel has given a platform for prominent anti-India propagandists such as Arundhati Roy and Mirza Waheed — bourgeois elitists who have made lucrative careers pandering to Western prejudice about India.

Roy in 2013

Arundhati Roy is the go-to girl for Western liberal commentaries on India. From the BCC and New York Times to the « left of the left » Le Monde Diplomatique and Democracy Now!, she is eulogised as an activist who stands up for the rights of India’s poorest and most oppressed people.

Her commentaries often make international headlines and have contributed to a pervasively negative image of India.

Since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rise to power in 2014, Roy has reported on lynchings of oppositionists to the new, “fascist” regime. But few of her followers in the West are aware that many of the lynchings have actually been against supporters of Narendra Modi. In April this year, in fact, a BJP worker was found hanging from a tree in Purulia, Bengal. He is not the first BJP worker to have been lynched; two other BJP workers were lynched the previous year.

Thousands of BJP workers have been threatened and are regularly harassed by leftist organisations. But Arundhati Roy never mentioned that fact; her focus is entirely on demonising the Hindutva movement and pandering to the fake “human rights” agendas of wealthy, Western NGOs.

But not only does Arundhati Roy distort facts; she sometimes presents fiction as fact, propagating outrageous lies.

Lies about Gujarat riots

Godhra should be rembered for … | Utkal R Pradhan's Blog

On 27 February 2002, India experienced some of its worst riots since independence. Violence erupted in Godhra train station in Gujarat state after a thousand-strong Muslim gang attacked a train of Hindu, Ramsevak pilgrims, burning 58 people alive, including twenty-seven women and ten children.

The atrocity provoked a genocidal revenge attack by the Hindus which resulted in over 720 Muslim deaths. An independent commission established that the Muslim terrorists had meticulously planned the ambush and that they had help from organisations in Pakistan. However, the focus of India’s liberal press and the international media was entirely on the Hindu attacks on Muslims. The train burning incident was practically ignored.

The BBC ran the headline, “ 58 Hindu ‘extremists’ burnt to death”. Agence France Press also referred to the Ramsevak families as extremists.

Narendra Modi was Chief Minister of Gujarat at the time. He was accused of allowing the Hindu rioters to take revenge on the Muslims. But the judicial enquiry found no evidence of collusion on Modi’s part. In August 2002 Journeyman Pictures made a documentary entitled: A State of Complicity which claimed the riots were “state-sponsored”.

The documentary only focuses on the sufferings of Muslims; it ignores the sufferings of Hindus. It also fails to explain why the police shot many of the 250 Hindus killed in the riots. Nor does the documentary investigate the allegations against Congress Party member Taufeeq Khan Pathan and his son Zulfi, who were reportedly seen leading the Muslim attackers.

After the Gujarat massacre, Modi was prevented from getting a visa to the United States on orders from Condoleeza Rice. The US wanted to placate Pakistan as they needed their support in Afghanistan. Ironically, the murderers in Godhra train station had been screeching their support for Osama Bin Laden on loudspeakers before the attack, calling for Hindus to be chopped to pieces.

After the riots, 40,000 Hindus were confined to refugee camps. There were Muslim counter-attacks on Hindus on 2 and 3 March and Muslim riots would continue intermittently thereafter.

Arundhati Roy was instrumental in the information war waged against Narendra Modi at the time. She claimed Hindu rioters had murdered a pregnant woman, cutting out the baby from her womb. Indian police launched an investigation into the crime but couldn’t find anyone who was aware of the story.

They contacted Arundhati Roy to ask for her help. They received a letter from her lawyer saying she was not legally obliged to cooperate. The story had been made up — probably by Arundhati Roy herself.

In a speech she gave to Northwestern Law School in Chicago, Roy claimed that « no one knows who set fire to the train » — another preposterous lie! In March 2011, New Dehli Supreme Court sentenced 11 to death and 20 to life imprisonment for the Godhra massacre. No one has ever doubted the validity of the verdicts — except of course Arundhati Roy and her gullible leftist fans!

Tehelka’s Sting Operation

On 7 November 2007, Tehelka magazine published a story entitled, « Truth, Gujarat 2002 », which claimed they had interviewed Hindu extremist collaborators with Narendra Modi who had committed mass murder during the riots. The Journeyman Pictures documentary mentioned above makes much use of this « exposé ».

One of the men who was secretly filmed claimed Modi had encouraged him to commit mass murder. He says Modi spent the second day of the riots going around the Gujarat city of Ahmedabad telling people they had done well and should do more. The notion that the Chief Minister of the state would personally tour a state to egg on mass murderers, encouraging them to commit more murder, is more than far-fetched; it is plainly ludicrous!

Even if the Chief Minister had backed the Hindu riots, he would not have gone around personally encouraging the murder; and if had, he would certainly not have escaped notice by the hostile, liberal press.

The people interviewed also made statements claiming Modi was in places the public record proves are false. Tehelka magazine is currently under investigation by India’s Serious Fraud Investigation Office for conflict of interest. Its editor Tarun Tejpal was described by the Guardian as one of India’s most influential figures. It was Tejpal’s publishing company India Lnk which published Arundhati Roy’s bestseller ‘The God of Small Things’ in 1998. In 2013, Tejpal was accused of sexual assault by a colleague. He is currently on bail. Tejpal fired one of the magazine’s senior editors after he wrote a story about a Goan mining company’s exploitation of workers. The mining company was sponsoring Thinkfest, a festival of movie stars, intellectuals and « social activists » organised by Tehelka. Other journalists working in the paper have said they have not been paid. This is the corporate, « left-wing » alt-globalist class of Arundhati Roy.

The sleazy and dishonest record of Tehelka magazine lends further plausibility to the accusations many researchers have made that their so-called “revelations” about the 2002 Gujarat riots were a political psyops designed to discredit India’s nationalist Hindutva movement and Narendra Modi’s leadership.

The Journeyman Pictures documentary claims Tehelka‘s sting operation is probably the greatest journalistic work in modern history. In reality, it is a text-book example of high-profile fake news.

Farmer suicides

Most people in the West have heard of the awful fate of farmers in India, who are committing mass suicide due to debt and the nefarious influence of agribusiness. The phenomenon is true but some of the stories diffused in the West are greatly exaggerated.

Many of these stories are being propagated by NDTV, which is owned by Arundhati’s cousin Prannoy Roy. A former partner of Rupert Murdoch, Prannoy Roy has been charged with tax fraud and insider trading on several occasions. NDTV is also the source for many of the heart-rending stories of farmers. In 2016, NDTV reported that farmer suicides had doubled since Modi took power in 2014 – a whopping lie! In fact, the official figures show that the 2016 suicide rate of 11,370 was the lowest in 15 years.

Discrediting social housing projects

PM Narendra Modi's 'Housing for all by 2022' scheme to be ...

The Modi government has an ambitious and commendable plan of providing housing for all Indians by 2022. The plan involves providing free housing in new flats for slum dwellers and cheap loans for poor people. If successful, Modi’s plan could greatly reduce extreme poverty in India. Anyone who cares about the poor would welcome a plan to house every family in the nation. But not, Roy’s NDTV. They attempted to discredit Modi’s plan by misquoting one of his speeches in order to make him appear ridiculous. They have also been caught in flagrante delicto attempting to increase tension with Pakistan by spreading lies and disinformation about the Indian government’s intentions.

Arundhati Roy and her liberal leftist media outlets deceive their readers by using such terms as « neoliberalism » and « American imperialism » to create the impression that they oppose the global finance capitalist order, when in fact, they are an indispensable cog in its machine of ruthless class domination. Perhaps readers who attend the next Arundhati Roy conference should ask her about media moguls who avoid tax, discredit popular policies and spread war-mongering disinformation; or slick publishers who promote feminists while assaulting women.


All over the world, populist movements are emerging. People are sick and tired of the lies of liberal elites and their leftist collaborators; India is no different. The political and media establishment in India is just as anti-Indian as the political and media establishment in every European country is anti-European; the interests of the majority are always ignored and denigrated. The entire discourse on minorities is a sinister reflection of the fact that a minority controls the world, and any political movement with mass support is a danger to that oligarchy.

The Modi administration is facing many domestic and international problems. India is emerging as a great power and is attempting to carve out a space for itself in a complex geopolitical context. Many of Modi’s foreign policies are dangerous. For example, Modi has established close relations with Israel. Over 40 % of Israeli arms are now bought by India. The behaviour of Islamo-Lefists has pushed India into an alliance with Israel. As a result, populists in India perceive Israel as an ally, completely unaware of the fact that Israel is the key state apparatus behind Islamic terrorism. Policymakers in India would do well to listen to the former director of Pakistan’s ISI General Hamid Gul who has said in no uncertain terms that neocons and Zionists were behind 911.

On the other hand, India continues to have friendly relations with Iran. India is home to the second-highest population of Shia Muslims outside Iran. India is attempting to compete with China. The United States wants India to act as a bulwark against Chinese expansion in the region. That is why the CIA has intensive regime change programmes and separatist movements in neighbouring Pakistan – a key ally of China. But Trump’s recent lie claiming that he offered to mediate in the Kashmir crisis will remind India that it must also let Washington know it will not become a geopolitical tool. Pakistan’s accusations that India is supporting separatism in Balochistan are probably true; but so are India’s claims that Pakistan’s ISI is behind terrorism in their country.

There are many reasons which explain the left-liberal/ Islamist alliance. Left-liberals function on the basis of victimology; Islamists play the same game. Both ideologies are fanatically collectivist and therefore, journalists who subscribe to one or other ideology are usually incapable of independent critical thought. Left-wingers will turn to Democracy Now! and Arundhati Roy, while many Muslims will fall for whatever victim story the left-liberal establishment and Al Jazeera throw at them.

The truth, as Oscar Wilde said, is rarely pure and never simple. If there is one message you can take from this article it is this: India is not oppressing Jammu and Kashmir — Jammu and Kashmir region is part of India. Many of the Indian commentators in the Western media are pathological liars, frauds and traitors to their country. Why would that surprise you?

About Gearóid Ó Colmáin

Gearóid Ó Colmáin is an Irish journalist and political analyst based in Paris. His work focuses on globalisation, geopolitics and class struggle.

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