India’s Enemies

by Jun 12, 2024Blogs0 comments

Prominent newspapers and media outlets in the West desperately pushed their own narratives and agendas with the target of misleading the international community as well as voters in India


Targeting India’s Lok Sabha Elections 2024, the United States, Britain, and France began well-orchestrated propaganda and handed over millions of dollars to a particular political party with the goal of defeating the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and establishing their exclusive dominance by installing their loyal elements in power. Such activities began almost five years before the election schedule, while a large number of anti-BJP media outlets joined hands in this conspiracy in exchange for hefty amounts of cash.

In French media, agenda-based articles, reports, and analyses were published with unusually high interest targeting Indian elections. A plethora of articles have been published in dozens of newspapers and media outlets, including Le Monde, Le Soir, La Croix (International), Le Temps, Reporterre, and Radio France Internationale (RFI) to shape a narrative and in turn, tamper with opinion-shaping on Indian elections – mostly with the target of defaming Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, demonizing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and projecting Rahul Gandhi and Indian National Congress (INC) as savior of the democracy.

The most disturbing fact is – that all of those media outlets competed in branding Narendra Modi as a “dictator” and making claims that India is being ruled by an “authoritarian regime.”

The Disinformation Lab, a research group, has documented some of the prominent newspapers and media outlets desperately pushing their own narratives and agendas with the target of misleading the international community as well as voters in India. This time, surprisingly, French media outlets, including France’s oldest, influential, and widely circulated newspaper, Le Monde, have also joined this anti-BJP and anti-Modi propaganda project.

According to The Disinformation Lab, the French newspaper Le Monde alone published a huge number of articles with unfair narratives revolving around manufactured themes ranging from rising ‘Islamophobia in India’ to the ‘undemocratic nature’ of India, to ‘stigmatization of Muslims’ to ‘growing authoritarianism’.

All of such agenda-based propaganda was reportedly manufactured by intelligence agencies in the United States – a country that boasts of being the “democratic heaven” despite the fact that a political opponent of the sitting president is being wrongly convicted on Trump-up charges. Similarly, spy agencies in the United Kingdom have also played a significant role in manufacturing, distributing, and publishing propaganda materials targeting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

In France, anti-Modi and anti-BJP propaganda and even interviews were published, creating narratives and micro-narratives on the Indian Lok Sabha elections. These were led by a French political scientist named Christophe Jaffrelot, who is also known as ‘CJ’.

Christophe Jaffrelot’s narratives and micro-narratives were backed by huge amounts of cash from the United States, UK, and EU nations. It is also rumored that CJ was enjoying patronization from China.

Each of his content was enthusiastically published by the French media because it was “value-added content.” As CJ played a leading role in this propaganda in France, he was frequently quoted not just by French media portals but also by Indian media outlets, including – The Indian Express, The Wire, and other leftist and pseudo-Islamist propaganda machines. All of the international and Indian media outlets portrayed Christophe Jaffrelot as a political commentator and expert on Indian elections.

The Vicious Web Of Anti-India Forces

Christophe Jaffrelot and a band of anti-India propagandists heavily promoted the Caste and Caste Census. George Soros and a few more notorious individuals have spent millions of dollars promoting the “Caste and Caste Census,” while one entity leading this agenda is Equality Labs, promoted by Jamaat-e-Islami and anti-India lobbying groups.

According to information, Equality Labs, which claims to be a progressive organization to combat caste discrimination, was founded by a Dalit techie and activist named Thenmonzhi Soundararajan, born and brought up in the United States. While this organization has been operating since 2016, it was registered only in 2022 as Equality Labs LLC., in Delaware (March 2022, registration number 202251715748) and in California in July 2022. Founder of Equality Labs, Thenmonzhi Soundararajan, was working on grants from the Open Society Institute – an organization funded by George Soros.

It may be mentioned here that Equality Labs has members with questionable backgrounds and affiliations, which include Sharmin Hossain, a Bangladeshi American who served as the Political Director of the organization. Sharmin is the daughter of Mohamed Hossain, a Bangladesh national and a former socialist student organizer with Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD). She also is the 2015 Open Society Youth Exchange Fellow under which she founded the Bangladeshi Historical Memory Project.

Another key figure in Equality Labs is Aruna Lohitakshi Sanghapali – also known as Sanghapali Aruna Kornana, an anti-caste activist and Executive Director of Project Mukti.

She was one of the key people who organized a placard holding with former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and former general counsel and the head of legal, policy, and trust at Twitter, Vijaya Gadde, in 2018 to promote ‘Smash Brahminical Patriarchy’ and ‘End Caste Apartheid’ posters.

Equality Labs’s other cofounder is Maari Zwick Maitreyi, also known as Valli Karunakaran. She is also the Director and Executive Editor of the US-based news portal, which is an essential part of the US-based Jamaat and anti-India lobbying nexus, including the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) and Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA).

Two more prominent figures in the Equality Labs are – Huma Dar, Pakistani origin provocateur of the Khalistan-Kashmir agenda, and Natasha Dar, granddaughter of Pakistani army Colonel Bashiruddin, who actively took part in the genocide during the 1971 war of independence of Bangladesh. Under the direct command of Bashiruddin, Hindus were brutally murdered, their homes set on fire, and Hindu girls and females raped.

Huma Dar holds a BA and MA from Stanford University and has worked as the International Advocacy Officer at Musawah Global Vision, a global movement for equality and justice in the Muslim family. She has been a key protagonist of the Kashmir-Khalistan desk conceived by the Pakistani spy agency Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) and a crucial supporter of Pakistan and Jamaat-e-Islami’s operations in the United States.

On June 11, 2017, Huma Dar attended a rally of Khalistanis in San Francisco. She was named as an expert in an organization named Stand with Kashmir, which is funded by Pakistani ISI.

In 2019, Dar began calling for the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions Movement against India, which is jointly sponsored by the Muslim Brotherhood and Pakistani ISI. In 2022, Nalin Mehta (political scientist, journalist, and writer) deconstructed the report and highlighted the points that provide glaring evidence of how they have presented a twisted version of the ground reality on the topic.

From churning out wrong data to misinterpretation and misrepresentation of castes to producing misleading data, Mehta points out how the report raises skepticism over such supposedly academic research.

Mehta accuses them of selective reporting to suit a particular narrative of the ruling party promoting the upper caste, and when presented with data contrary to their claim (of Members of Parliament), the dup declares that the number of MPs doesn’t matter. This is despite the fact that Jaffrelot and Verniers have published entire peer-reviewed articles in global academic journals to make the claim of upper-caste dominance increasing in BJP structures, fundamentally based only on data points and charts from the same research on MPs alone.

According to Disinformation Labs, while their report is deconstructed on multiple counts, the funniest part is their fundamental misunderstanding of the Indian caste structure (for which, as foreigners, they can’t be blamed much). They mischaracterized the castes in their report. And yet, they felt entitled enough to prescribe what should be done on caste issues in India. And he gets ample media space to pontificate. However, his narrative doesn’t come only from ignorance but is part of deliberate propaganda, as seen in his argument of ‘non-dominant’ OBCs. The Duo dilutes the ruling party’s efforts to reach out to other non-dominant OBCs, which should be considered one of the most meaningful engagements if the overall objective is empowering all sections of society with participation. To not recognize, let alone appreciate this, smells of inherent bias if not deliberate manipulation.

Musawah Global Vision receives funds from several “philanthropic” organizations, including the Ford Foundation and the Open Society Foundation.

In 2021, Christophe Jaffrelot published a research report on the need for a caste census in India and subsequently wrote articles in Indian media. And surprisingly, in a country of 1.4 billion, he single-handedly managed to put this topic into public discourse, which was also helped by election season. This was a remarkable feat by any academician. His caste census narrative was surprisingly timed with a fund from a US-based ‘philanthropic foundation’ – Henry Luce Foundation (HLF). CJ had received HLF funding for three years in 2021 – three years, ending in 2024. Again, many other fronts and organizations had received similar funding from HLF – all in 2020/21, all for three years – all focusing on India with a set of predefined narratives.

Jaffrelot was mentioned and re-mentioned in thousands of tweets between 2016 and May 2024, totaling 23,449. Key topics of these tweets were Elections and Voting in India, Caste Issues in India, Muslims and Religion, Modi/BJP, and India-Pakistan Relations.

Other funders or cohorts of anti-India and anti-Modi propaganda rants are the Henry Luce Foundation, Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), Center for Strategic and International Studies, Asia Foundation (established by CIA), Berkeley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs (BCRPWA), Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP), etcetera.

Srishti Jaiswal is also a member of the Digital Witness Lab (DWL), which is housed inside Princeton University, and has written for The Caravan magazine, Hindustan Times, Newslaundry, Vice World News, and Al Jazeera, among others.

In June 2020, Srishti was caught making Hinduphobic statements on the microblogging platform ‘X’ (formerly Twitter). Following the incident, Srishti’s then-employer, Hindustan Times (HT), confirmed on X that it had suspended her over the comments she made via her X account.

In March 2020, Human Rights Watch (HRW) received US$ 300,000 from Henry Luce Foundation (HLF), for ‘Renewed support for research about and documentation of religious intolerance and violence in three countries in Asia’. Of those three Asian countries, it was neither specified by HLF nor HRW. However, as the saying goes, the devil lies in the details. The URL of the grant-making link gave away the names of those countries, namely- Myanmar, Indonesia, and India.

The HRW has published reports in 2023, that have been highly critical of human rights issues in India for years. While HRW publishes annual reports for countries, it is supported by grants from the Ford Foundation and over US$ 6.4 million from the Open Society Foundations (OSF) since 2016. HRW has been a recipient of Henry Luce Foundation funding since 1992, and in 2020, it received a US$ 300,000 grant from the foundation to document religious intolerance and violence in three Asian countries, including India. Taking that into consideration, HRW’s reports have been found to be publishing reports critical of India on pretexts of COVID-19 impact in India, Article 370 in Jammu & Kashmir, plights of Dalits, Tribal Groups & Religious Minorities Clampdown on Civil Societies, and even the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

Meenakshi Ganguly, Deputy Director of the Human Rights Watch (HRW), Asia Division, who earlier worked as the correspondent for Time Magazine and also worked for the Press Trust of India, is connected to PCRes-CRG which has organized several events/webinars on subjects including violence in Nuh (Haryana), Islamophobia, and violence in Manipur, Casteline, Hindu Nationalism, and Indian elections 2024.

One of the latest inclusions in PCRes is Raqib Hameed Naid, the founder of the banned website ‘Hindutva Watch.’ In January 2024, this website was banned in India for violating the Information Technology Act of 2000. Naik has been serving as a key figure in leading the narratives of Islamophobia and even the caste rhetoric, as evidenced by his articles on Al Jazeera. It may be mentioned here that, for the past several years, Al Jazeera English has also been running vile propaganda targeting Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the ruling Awami League.

Attempts to re-legitimize Raqib and his two projects, Hindutva Watch and India Hate Lab (IHL), have been ongoing, both domestically and internationally. It is not surprising that IHL has been proactive months ahead of the Lok Sabha Elections 2024.

The portal published two reports, purportedly documenting hate speeches against Muslims in India, fanning the narrative of Islamophobia. These reports have been the basis of several articles by national and international media to highlight the rhetoric of Islamophobia in India, especially during the run-up to the Lok Sabha Elections 2024.

Following the suspension of both his portals in India, a New Delhi-based Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF) is now representing Raqib to challenge the ban on his portals. Not surprisingly, the individuals engaged with IFF in Raqib’s case have also been part of the same nexus – Soros and Thakur Foundation.

Most recently, India Hate Lab’s report was promoted by one Washington DC-based ‘Dangerous Speech Project,’ which rated India as a ‘violent Islamophobic’ country ahead of the general elections by citing the IHL report. As per its website, receives its operational funding solely from private foundations, including the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Open Society Foundations.

Formed in July 2021, the South Asia Scholar Activist Collective (SASAC) describes itself as a group of scholars, activists, and students of South Asian studies and adjacent fields based in North America. The group claims to tackle and fight what it states as Hindutva ideology, otherwise known as Hindu nationalism. After its formation, SASAC established its social media, mainly on Facebook, on July 17, 2021.

In May 2023, SASAC member Dheepa Sundaram was granted up to USD 5000 for the project, “Hindutva Explained: Creating public-facing digital materials for teaching about Hindu Nationalism.

As a result, in February 2024, SASAC published a report titled “Reporting Guide on Hindu Nationalism,” co-authored by Manan Ahmed, Ananya Chakravarti, Ken Chitwood, Rohit Chopra, Dheepa Sundaram, and Audrey Truschke. 134 The report is based on sources and reports, including Freedom House Reports, Hindutva Watch, Amnesty International’s India report, EU Disinfolab’s EU Chronicles report, and Equality Labs’s Caste survey report. It is worth noting that Freedom House, Hindutva Watch, and Equality Labs – have all been repeatedly exposed for fabrication and propaganda.

The group also supported Seattle’s Proposed Ordinance to ban caste discrimination and Equality Labs’ campaign on caste in the US, based on a single rigged Caste survey published in 2018 (and duly funded by philanthropic fronts like Open Society Foundations, Luminate Group, New Media Ventures, and Ford Foundation).

Key Members Of SASAC

Manan Ahmed, Columbia University; Ananya Chakravarti, Georgetown University; Rohit Chopra, Santa Clara University; Purnima Dhavan, University of Washington; Supriya Gandhi, Yale University; Simran Jeet Singh, Aspen Institute; Davesh Soneji, University of Pennsylvania; Dheepa Sundaram, University of Denver; and Audrey Truschke, Rutgers University-Newark.

In March 2023, a new domain named Friends of Democracy was registered, and the portal was live in the subsequent months. Based in New York, Friends of Democracy claims to fight against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of India to ‘save’ the Indian democracy, calling India a country whose democracy is hanging on a ‘thread’ due to big techs and Hindu ‘extremism’.

After its formation, SASAC established its social media, mainly on Facebook, on July 17, 2021. SASAC is also behind the initiative Hindutva Harassment Field Manual. To date, SASAC has been one of the key forces behind numerous projects in the US, including supporting the Dismantling Global Hindutva (DGH) event to show support for implementing caste in the US university anti-discrimination policies.

On September 5, 2023, Friends of Democracy (FoD) published a blog titled, ‘India spent US$61.2 billion on Russian fossil fuels since the start of the Ukraine war’. The admin of the article was Respublica.

While the elections were underway in India, on May 6, 2024, Friends of Democracy sponsored a report titled “The Modi Mirage: New study indicates decline in India’s global reputation under BJP”. The report has been curated and co-authored by Professor Irfan Nooruddin from Georgetown University, US, Dr Subir Sinha from London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies, UK, and Dr Ritumbra Manuvie from Groningen University, The Netherlands. “Modi Mirage” relies on a synthesis of recent research by the Pew Research Center in the US, V-Dem, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, Canadian consultancy GlobeScan, US poll firm GQY, and UK’s YouGov.

Common goals of all of these individuals and organizations have been spreading lies targeting Hindu nationalists, the Hindu religion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Key policymakers in the West believe – that until the BJP is in power, India shall remain a powerful country and continue its progress and prosperity. The result of the Lok Sabha 2024 elections has been a grand victory for the enemies of India.

(Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is an internationally acclaimed multi-award-winning journalist, writer, research scholar, counterterrorism specialist, and Editor of Blitz, a newspaper published from Bangladesh since 2003. He regularly writes for local and international newspapers)

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