Journalists Murders in India; BRICs Xiamen Declaration; DACA Repeal

Why was Indian journalist Gauri Lankesh murdered? Who killed her? Why are Modi's Hindu Nationalists supporters targeting public intellectuals and journalists critical of Indian government policies? Why has India joined the reporters without borders' list of the world's most dangerous countries for journalists? Why has Muslim become a "derogatory term" in the words of Indian journalist Anoo Bhuyan? How are anti-Muslim Hindutva trolls using the social media to spew hate and issue threats?

Murdered Indian Intellectuals Since 2014: Narendra Dabholkar, M.M. Kalburgi, Gauri Lankesh and Govind Pansare.
Photos: The Hindu, PTI  
Why did China allow BRICs Xiamen Summit declaration to mention some of the "terrorist" groups targeting India over Kashmir issue? Was this a mistake as claimed by some Chinese think tank analysts like Hu Shisheng of the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations? How will this impact China-Pakistan ties? Is this a success of Modi's campaign to slander and isolate Pakistan?

What is DACA and why did President Trump repeal it? Is it a wise decision from moral and economic viewpoint? Who will be most affected by it? Are there any Indians and Pakistanis among the DACA recipients? Will Congress act before DACA expiration to legalize the status of DACA beneficiaries?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Misbah Azam discusses these questions with analysts Ali H. Cemendtaur and Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFIhMCdguD4




Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Is Modi Succeeding in Isolating Pakistan?

Impact of Trump's DACA Repeal on Pakistanis

Trump's Afghan Strategy: Will Pakistan Yield to US Pressure?

Why is India Sponsoring Terror in Pakistan?

Karan Thapar Debunks Indian Narrative of Kulbhushan Yadav

Modi's Trolls: BJP's Vicious Attack Machine

Gen Petraeus Debunks Charges of Pakistani Duplicity

Husain Haqqani vs Riaz Haq on India vs Pakistan

700,000 Indian Soldiers vs 10 Million Kashmiris

HIndu Nationalism Going Global

Gall-Haqqani-Paul Narrative on Pakistan

Pakistan-China-Russia vs India-US-Japan

Robert Gates' Straight Talk on Pakistan

Comments

Riaz Haq said…
#India’s #Modi Criticized for Following Twitter Feed Tied to Nasty Post. #GauriLankeshMurder #BJP #Trolls

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/08/world/asia/india-modi-twitter.html

NEW DELHI — What are the ethics in choosing whom to follow on Twitter? Do influential people — say, a head of state — have a higher responsibility not to follow people who post hateful tweets?

That is the debate now in India after it was discovered that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a hugely popular but divisive figure, was following the Twitter feed of a man who wrote the following this week, after a female journalist was shot to death: “One bitch dies a dog’s death all the puppies cry in the same tune.”

Many Indians were bothered by that message, then doubly disturbed to learn that the writer, Nikhil Dadhich, a prolific tweeter who describes himself as a “Hindu nationalist,” was among the 1,779 accounts their prime minister was following.

“The prime minister shouldn’t be doing that. He’s giving legitimacy to filth,” said Sai Krishna, a medical student in southern India who heard about the nasty message after the journalist, Gauri Lankesh, was killed Tuesday. The police have few leads, but many analysts said they believed the killing was an assassination.

Mrs. Lankesh was a provocative intellectual who criticized many politicians and religious leaders. The way she was killed — gunned down outside her house by a mysterious assailant — was eerily similar to how several other critics of the Hindu nationalist agenda of the Modi government have been silenced.

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His political party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (commonly referred to as the B.J.P.), is frequently accused of operating what detractors call a troll army — a group of bloggers who quickly swarm online anyone seen as critical of the party. Mr. Modi is following some of these people and in doing so, Mr. Krishna, the medical student, said, was acting “like a passive troll.”

Some of the accounts Mr. Modi follows on Twitter have made misogynistic comments, spread anti-Muslim feelings and dangerous rumors, or made remarks that do not always jibe with his message of tolerance. One account he follows suggested dropping an atomic bomb on Pakistan. The same account called a prominent female journalist a prostitute.

”What is the compelling need to follow these people?” asked Swati Chaturvedi, the author of, “I Am a Troll: Inside the Secret World of the BJP’s Digital Army.” “Most of them boast in their bio saying, ‘Blessed to be followed by PM Modi,’ which is essentially like a license and a liberty to say what they want to.”

Mr. Modi’s party fired back, saying that he followed Indian opposition leaders, that just because he followed certain people did not mean he agreed with them, and that he had more pressing matters than arguing over whom he followed on Twitter and why.
Riaz Haq said…
#India: Assassinating Dissent. #gaurilankeshmurder #Modi #Hindutva http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2017/09/15/india-assassinating-dissent/ … via @nybooks

Gauri Lankesh was the editor of a weekly tabloid published in Kannada, the main language of the southern Indian state of Karnataka. She was murdered on the fifth of September at the gate of her house in Bangalore, shot in the head and chest at close range. Her killers got away on motorcycles. This gangland-style assassination of a journalist would have made a stir in any case, but coming as it did after a series of political murders, it resonated across India and beyond its borders.

From the moment she died, the press reported her death not as an individual event but as the fourth in a sequence of assassinations; to the names Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare, and M.M. Kalburgi, journalists now added Gauri Lankesh. Politically they were all left-leaning, strongly rationalist, hostile to Hindu orthodoxy, and convinced that right-wing majoritarianism was the mortal enemy of republican democracy. They were also public intellectuals who chose to write in their mother tongues: Dabholkar and Pansare wrote in Marathi, Kalburgi and Lankesh in Kannada. They spoke to a vernacular readership beyond the reach of the country’s English media, with its pan-Indian but paper-thin Anglophone audience. Each of them was shot dead by men on motorcycles with homemade pistols who got away.

India has always been a dangerous place for journalists. The Hindi journalist Ramchandra Chhatrapati, who in 2002 first published the anonymous letter accusing Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, the recently jailed cult leader, of rape, was shot and killed weeks after his story ran. More than thirty journalists have been killed in the state of Assam in the last thirty years. In the newly created state of Jharkhand, with its mining mafias, being a journalist is a conspicuously dangerous business: four journalists have died there since 2000 and no one has been convicted of their murders. Malini Subramaniam, a freelance journalist, was hounded out of Bastar in the state of Chhatisgarh by a vigilante group acting in concert with the local police because her reports on the Maoist insurgency didn’t fit the government’s counterinsurgency narrative. In Madhya Pradesh, a central Indian state, a scandal about corruption in a government-administered examination board was dwarfed by the horror of its aftermath: nearly forty people associated with the scandal as culprits or witnesses died seemingly unnatural deaths, and in 2015, a journalist investigating the case the case died in mysterious circumstances.
Riaz Haq said…
Russian-Backed Facebook Accounts Staged Events Around Divisive Issues
They publicized or financed at least 60 events—on all sides of most polarizing issues—before and after the 2016 election

https://www.wsj.com/articles/russian-backed-facebook-accounts-organized-events-on-all-sides-of-polarizing-issues-1509355801

Workers behind Russian-linked Facebook Inc. FB 0.11% accounts helped organize or finance real-life events before and after the 2016 election, often working directly with U.S. activists and playing both sides of the same hot-button issue—even on the same day.

In July 2016, as outrage swelled over fatal shootings in Dallas and Minneapolis, alleged social-media agitators tied to Russia worked quickly to capitalize on the emotionally charged atmosphere.

Workers linked to a Russia-based firm organized two gatherings, both for July 10: In Dallas, a “Blue Lives Matter” rally honored the five police officers slain there on July 7; and near Minneapolis, nearly 300 people rallied in support of Philando Castile, a man fatally shot by a police officer during a traffic stop.

The events show that the Russian-linked account activity went far beyond paying for polarizing ads dropped into Facebook members’ news feeds. At least 60 rallies, protests and marches were publicized or financed by eight Russia-backed Facebook accounts from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., according to a review by The Wall Street Journal, which looked at archived versions of now-deleted Facebook posts and interviewed activists, attendees and others familiar with the events, most of which were posted on Facebook.

Facebook said in September that it had found 470 such accounts that it says belonged to Russians and that sought to exploit social divisions in the U.S. through provocative issue ads. The eight accounts the Journal examined are among those Facebook unearthed, according to people familiar with the matter. Facebook said it closed the accounts.

Much of the scrutiny of the Russian accounts so far has focused on their online activity, but the live events demonstrate how the alleged use of social media by Russian forces served as a launchpad for deeper infiltration into the American democratic process. Many rallies were sparsely attended, but some attracted news coverage, helping the accounts seem legitimate, add followers and enlist activists to plan future events.

People representing “Black Matters US,” one of the Russia-backed accounts, pressured Los Angeles activist Nolan Hack to plan events that would raise the account’s visibility. “They’d say, we need to continue to up the protest numbers. We need to continue to get more people to know about us,” Mr. Hack said. “I would say—who cares about that? We’re not trying to win a reality show here.”

At least 22 of the 60 events actually took place, such as a May 2016 protest of an Islamic center in Houston planned by “Heart of Texas”, a Russia-created page that supported Texas secession and posted the “Blue Lives Matter” rally in Dallas two months later. On June 25, 2016, following the shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla, “LGBT United” organized a candlelight vigil, where one of the victim’s brothers spoke. Both were covered by local media and attracted a dozen or more attendees.

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Representatives from the Facebook page “United Muslims of America” asked Mike Ghouse, an interfaith activist, to speak at a Sept. 3, 2016 event in Washington, D.C. billed as “a peaceful rally, to make mosques and their neighborhood safe!”

The group sent Mr. Ghouse placards they intended to use that included anti-Trump messages, causing him to back out, he said. “I said they should be more pluralistic, more inclusive because there’s no need to attack Trump,” Mr. Ghouse said. “They wouldn’t, so I didn’t go.”
Riaz Haq said…
What the Kulbhushan Jadhav Saga Reveals About India and Pakistan’s Balochistan Problems
India’s Quint published and deleted a story alleging that Jadhav was indeed spying for India. What does that tell us?

https://thediplomat.com/2018/01/what-the-kulbhushan-jadhav-saga-reveals-about-india-and-pakistans-balochistan-problems/

This weekend, a report in India surfaced that confirmed Kulbhushan Jadhav was an asset of Indian intelligence. Jadhav, a former Indian naval officer, is currently on death row in Pakistan for spying, having been captured in Balochistan in early 2016. Until now, New Delhi has publicly denied that Jadhav had any relationship with the Indian state since his retirement from the navy. To the contrary, New Delhi alleged that Jadhav was a legitimate businessman kidnapped from Iran by Pakistan’s intelligence services.

The “legitimate businessman” fa├žade has slowly been chipped away over 18 months. Leaving aside major complications in India’s story, such as Iran’s silence in the face of this ostensibly daring violation of its sovereignty, even reporters closely tied to India’s security establishment revealed that Jadhav offered to spy for Indian intelligence “several times” between 2010 and 2012, only to be rebuffed. What was new about this weekend’s report, however, was that for the first time, an Indian outlet essentially confirmed Pakistan’s version of events. In the report, both serving and retired Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) officers claimed that Jadhav was indeed spying for India in Balochistan.


The reaction was swift. Minutes after being published, the article was vociferously denounced by Indian journalists and analysts on social media, and in the comments section by readers, as being irresponsible and treacherous. Hours later, the article was taken down entirely. Though an archived version of the article still exists, there is otherwise no trace of it ever being written. The author and editor in question have not publicly explained why or how the article was published or taken down. There has been no follow up to the article’s startling admission by major newspapers or television channels.
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South Asia is no stranger to the phenomenon of external actors intervening in their neighbors’ domestic conflicts. Most famously in 1971, during Pakistan’s civil war, India corralled, trained, and supplied the Mukti Bahini, which became strong enough to be one of the very few rebel groups to win a secessionist war and change an international border. Pakistan, for its part, has repeatedly sought to spark or fuel rebellion in Kashmir, most prominently in the early 1990s, as well as other secessionist hotspots, such as Punjab in the 1980s or the Indian northeast in the 1960s. Bangladesh and Myanmar have hosted militants targeting India’s northeast. India has returned the favor with each, and supported Tamil militants taking on the Sri Lankan state in the 1980s too.


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Unlike India, the country most beset by secessionism, Pakistan does not have manifold separatist movements threatening its territorial integrity today. With the loss of East Pakistan in 1971, and the dampening of Sindhi and Pashtun nationalism in the last four decades, Pakistan finds itself much closer to Sri Lanka than its eastern neighbor: facing one, and only one, major separatist movement.



Riaz Haq said…
#BJP #Hindutva trolls attack #India FM #SushmaSwaraj for intervening on behalf a #Hindu-#Muslim #interfaith couple to issue a passport that was illegally denied by a right wing Hindu employee

https://thewire.in/gender/sushma-swaraj-right-wing-twitter-trolling

Swaraj experienced what women on Twitter have to deal with on a daily basis – death and rape threats, threatening messages which are often sexual in nature.

Sushma Swaraj, one of the ruling government’s most loved ministers, found herself on the receiving end of troll firing quad on social media after she pulled up a passport office employee for harassing an inter-faith couple.

In a series of tweets to external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj last week, Tanvi Seth had complained that one of the officials who interviewed her did not approve her application and verbally lashed out at her for marrying a Muslim and not changing her name. Her husband said that the ministry of external affairs (MEA) employee also asked him to convert for their marriage to be ‘accepted’.

A day later, the MEA handed over their passports and promised “appropriate action” against the employee concerned.

A day after Tanvi spoke to the media, the passport officer, identified as Vikas Mishra, held a press conference to share his side of the story. “I asked Tanvi Seth to get the name ‘Shadia Anas’ endorsed as it was mentioned on her Nikahnama [Muslim marriage contract], but she refused. We have to do thorough checks to ensure no person is changing their name to obtain a [false or duplicate] passport,” he told Asian News International (ANI).

The passport officer’s statement angered the right wing Twitterati who felt that the minister had acted impulsively in an attempt to appease minorities.

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In his speech, the UN human rights chief specifically mentioned the case of two Indian woman journalist, one of whom was assassinated in 2017 in Bengalooru. “In India, Gauri Lankesh, a journalist who published criticism of Hindu extremism, was killed last year following widespread online calls for violence against her; and her colleague Rana Ayyub has been subjected to thousands of hate-filled messages, including calls for her to be gang-raped and murdered, with dissemination of her phone number and home address”.

Even as external affairs minister’s account was being targeted with online vitriol, the Indian statement said at the discussion that “India has taken various steps to address cases of online violence against women”.

India even claimed that it was simpler now to remove abusive material from the internet.

“A Central Reporting Mechanism is being created to work as a hotline for easier reporting of any cyber crime. The process for removing objectionable imagery from the digital space is also made easier. Increased awareness is being promoted among public and authorities on better prevention and redressal,” it said.

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