The art of propaganda

ISJK, ISIS, Daesh,

A Kashmiri journalist wrote this earlier this week.

I have nothing against anybody, but if there are news reports, which consistently push an agenda for the Indian state, picking and choosing the facts to weave it into a story, it throws an interesting opportunity to probe and find how the narratives are diluted in Kashmir to suit the political propaganda.

The broadsheet had no time to write a single scathing piece, targeting the perpetrators of the crime who raped and murdered nine-year-old Asifa, but they have so much space and time for the so-called Zakir Musa and the so-called “shift in the Kashmir’s militancy narrative”, that it has written story after story, eulogising the militant and the “drift” in militancy.

While making a case for Musa and the “shift in the militancy” narrative, they have not touched even Hizb or LeT who have been involved in almost all the major attacks this year. Why so?

People shout slogans near the body of slain militant Eesa Fazili during his funeral procession in Srinagar on Monday. (Waseem Andrabi /HT Photo)

In a story published on March 14, titled “Militancy sees sharp drift towards Islamism,” the newspaper instead of presenting true facts as to how the goons of self-proclaimed ISJK snatched Eisa Fazili’s body, beat a women, hurled abuses, disrespected slain militants father, and paraded the body to and fro just to create a scene and take pictures, have given a completely new twist- that it was the pro-Pakistan flag bearers who wanted to compete with the Daesh ones.

This means, the newspaper, has an inherent bias which was hell-bent to project that it was a group of pro-Pakistan, not the handful of pro-Daesh men who were struggling to find the space. In other words, the newspaper report wanted to make it believe that the majority of the people there were pro-Daesh which is an absolute lie.

It poses serious questions on the news coverage as to how it has been consistently diluting the facts and presenting a propaganda as news. It calls for questions into the credibility of the newspaper and its functioning while covering militancy related stories in Kashmir.

Not only has that, a superficial research posed more serious questions. The newspaper seems to have turned into a pamphlet of Zakir Musa. Through multiple propaganda stories, following points could be concluded;

  1. Almost in every story, there is an effort to project Zakir Musa is leading the militant movement when he has not been found to be involved in a single attack by the government.
  2. Almost in every story, the term “Islamism,” “global jihad” “Al Qaeda” like terms have been used to reinforce that it is pan Islamism struggle now
  3. Consistently the word drift, shift have been used to make it believe that there has been change in militant narrative to global Islamist militancy
  4. Consistently target pro-Pakistan and pro-Independence constituency

Far from any drift, it seems there is only spin in the stories where the unrelated incidents have been picked to build the case for the Zakir Musa and the so-called Al-Qaeda in Kashmir.

If the newspaper has been true to journalism, they should have carried the videos of Riyaz Naikoo and other militant as well. They should have spoken about the graves of civilians in Shopian which were covered in Kashmir and Pakistani flags. There are a number of examples. But why will it do so, it is more interested in “Musa and the drift.”

Why are such incidents not being reported by them?

In Eisa’s incident, the newspaper deliberately chose to hide true facts, instead, focusing on the one flag, which was visible in Eisa’s funeral. Such propaganda needs to be busted, because it is aimed magnify the image of a handful of unknown people.

Interestingly, it seems the aim of the news stories to give credence to the Indian efforts to connect that Kashmir with global terrorism. As more and more such stories are churned for the Indian propaganda purpose, a powerful case is being built against the Kashmir struggle, none other than Hashim Qureshi’s son, Junaid Qureshi.

In not a single story, the coverage mentions the number of militants involved in the “drift” since the drift is in their minds only.

I will not write about the writing part of the Tribune stories which is full of cliches and overused words. It seems, the Tribune wants to sensationalise a thing, which is in their minds only.

Here are the news links and you can yourself read and analyses to form any sort of conclusion. By the way the stories have used the term “Pan Islamism” which has been used by Junaid Qureshi as well in his speech title in Geneva last week.

“Militancy sees sharp drift towards Islamism”

They have not touched how the body was hijacked and people were beaten by 15 goons there.

“In Eid videos, glimpse of new militant narrative”

Last year, Wani made a video statement in which he imitated the style and monologue of global ‘jihadi’ groups and called for establishment of a caliphate

“Musa quits pro-Pak Hizb as separatists debate ideology”

“Hizbul Mujahideen commander Zakir Musa today warned the political separatists, asking them to stop branding the fighting in Kashmir as a “political struggle”

“Kashmiri ultras praise Taliban, rubbish Pak”

In a momentous ideological drift in Kashmir’s decades-old militancy

“In south Kashmir, youth back Musa’s Islamic ‘struggle”

“Hizb chief Salahuddin’s influence on the wane”

In ideological shift, Kashmir commander says fight ‘exclusively for Islam’

“With Zakir in command, new ultras stick to pan-Islamic trajectory”

A word of caution

Not just the broadsheet, another news-website has been consistently publishing pro-Daesh and pro-Al Qaeda columns. A narrative where Hizbul commander Burhan Wani was turned into a make-believe Al Qaeda operative. Or a snide remark for Hurriyat to convert to Christianity. Or trusting fake news that Pakistan’s general is a Qadiani, then goes on with its make-believe agenda and an apologist narrative for Daesh.

Or another interview with one of the earliest leaders of pro-Independence movement who claims ‘Zakir Musa is becoming ‘Moses’ in the courtyard of Pharoah’. The article has been removed from the website.

The question is if these writers, journalists and news-website are promoting the propaganda of Daesh, to create chaos in the complex of Kashmir conflict. Or is it a deliberate agenda to project India’s Daesh and global terrorism agenda on Kashmir.

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