In an interview to a Pakistani TV channel ZemTV, terrorist mastermind Hafiz Saeed has criticized the Modi Government for defaming him & Pakistan as a ploy to cover up its ‘terrorist acts’, while in the same breath praising Congress and NDTV anchor Barkha Dutt as ‘good’ elements in Bharat.
Hafiz Saeed is the chief of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and its charitable front Jamaat-ud-Dawah (Jud). Both LeT and JuD are banned by the UN Security Council as entities of al-Qaeda. Saeed is on Bharat’s most-wanted terrorist list, and is said to be the direct mastermind of the 26/11 jihadi attack on Mumbai which killed 166 people. United States announced a bounty of $10 million on Hafiz Saeed, but he lives as a free man in Pakistan (a close US ally), with full protection of Pakistani Army, ISI, and Government.
Here is the video clipping where Hafiz Saeed is replying to a question on why the Government of Bharat wants to ‘eliminate’ him –
This is what Hafiz Saeed says in response to the interviewer’s question –
“Not everyone in Bharat is like this – there are good people there too in media and politics. But one segment is against me, my organisation (JuD) and Pakistan. They blame Pakistan for everything; to hide their mistakes, to hide their terrorist faces…they use my name. I talk of Kashmir, but they change the subject and to fool the world they blame me for terror activities.
But there are people like Barkha Dutt too in Bharat, who talk well and make sense. Even Congress has recently made a statement asking BJP not to blame Pakistan but to look at how they (BJP) have oppressed the people of Kashmir and committed atrocities. Congress has said that by blaming Pakistan, you cannot solve the Kashmir issue. So I believe there are good people too in Bharat. Modi and the people around him have decided to defame me as a terrorist in front of the whole world, just to hide atrocities committed by them against their own people. This is their ploy.”
What does Hafiz Saeed’s applause of Barkha and Congress indicate?
The above statement by Hafiz Saeed cannot be used to imply that journalists like Barkha Dutt and political parties like Congress support what Saeed says, or that they support a terror group like LeT. An endorsement by a terrorist does not make one a terrorist. To establish someone’s terrorist or anti-national links requires deep investigation and solid evidence.
But the point Hafiz Saeed is making is that he finds the media reporting by Barkha and the statements emanating from Congress, as supporting his stand that the issue in Kashmir is one of oppression by the Bharatiya State (especially under Modi). This enables the likes of Saeed to further their propaganda that Pakistan-sponsored terror is a myth, which has nothing to do with the current unrest in Kashmir. In other words, for Hafiz Saeed the likes of Barkha Dutt and psuedo-secular political outfits like Congress are ‘useful idiots’.
So the question everyone should be asking is this – is Hafiz Saeed right in saying that Barkha and Congress are bolstering the Pakistani/LeT claim that the unrest in Kashmir is due to the oppression of the Bharatiya State? And sadly, the answer on this count is, yes.
If we look at the kind of skewed coverage which NDTV and Barkha Dutt have indulged in over the last few weeks, where slain terrorist Burhan Wani was projected as a ‘social media warrior’, where disproportionate coverage was given to the Kashmiri civilians injured in the violent protests vis a vis the risk and casualties suffered by security forces, where the plight of Kashmiri Hindus trapped in the valley or news about Amarnath Yatris who had to flee was censored – if we look at all this, we have to agree with Hafiz Saeed that NDTV and Barkha Dutt do indeed bolster his claims.
And lets examine the statements made by Congress: Ghulam Nabi Azad in Rajya Sabha blamed everyone imaginable (Modi Government, BJP, RSS, PDP-BJP coalition, security forces, certain media channels) for ‘oppressing’ Muslims in the valley and the rest of Bharat, but avoided mentioning Pakistan sponsored Islamist terror – he made a reference to Pakistan only at the end of his speech, and that too requesting them not to interfere as Muslims of Bharat were capable of ‘fighting for their rights in Bharat’. Jyotiraditya Scindia went a step further in Lok Sabha, and after blasting the PDP-BJP coalition for using ‘weapons against their own people’ (does he want a violent, stone pelting mob to be controlled through lathis?), he went on to say that there should be “rai shumari (plebiscite)” in Kashmir – although he later made an unconvincing backtrack that he had meant to say “rai mashwara” (disucssion), the damage was done by then. Going by this evidence, we have to agree with Hafiz Saeed that Congress is supporting his view point on the Kashmir situation.
Congress and media anchors like NDTV’s Barkha Dutt should introspect on why a deadly terrorist is finding consonance with their views on a matter that impacts the very integrity of the Union of Bharat.