THE Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI’s) crackdown on ISI funding, which resulted into the arrest of Ghulam Nabi Fai in the United States, has brought the real story of ‘freedom struggle’ in Kashmir into sharp focus. It has also highlighted the shameful role played by prominent liberals in bestowing legitimacy on jihad in the Valley.
Fai was not the only propagandist. The FBI is reportedly also investigating the role played by Abdul Majeed Tramboo and Nazir Shawl. While the former is a successful immigration lawyer, the latter is a scientific researcher. That Tramboo had his office in Brussels next to the European Union headquarters also underlines the fact that Islamic fundamentalists have been able to make inroads in the West.
Tramboo set up an office and tried to persuade European parliamentarians about the Kashmir.
What is common among the three musketeers is that they are apparently cosmopolitan activists, who largely succeed in masquerading jihad in the Valley as a ‘freedom struggle.’ They are well-versed in the jargon of political correctness, which is so dear to the heart of our liberals. So, the Central government’s Kashmir interlocutor Dilip Padgaonkar (in his capacity as consulting editor of The Times Of India), senior journalist Kuldip Nayar, Mail Today editor Bharat Bhushan, Tehelka magazine’s editor (investigations) Harinder Baweja, activist Gautam Navlakha, academic Kamal Mitra Chenoy, and journalist Praful Bidwai graced the events organised by Fai.
Caught on the wrong foot, Padgaonkar took recourse to sophistry and subterfuge. He said, “At the heart of this whole debate being whipped up by the media is guilt by association.” Well, Padgaonkar, what you and other liberals are accused of is the bestowal of respectability on Fai. There is a great deal of similarity in the views of Indian pseudo-liberals and the Fais. This is the reason that while the liberals are being lambasted for their association with Fai, Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy is not accused of any wrongdoing, though he also reported attended one of the seminars by Fai. Swamy’s patriotism is unquestionable; Padgaonkar’s is not.
Padgaonkar is determined to make an ass of himself. He said, “I did not know Mr Fai… I knew then that Fai’s organisation toes a line that is different from India’s. But none of us knew the provenance of his funds. Had I known, I would not have gone.” Either he is lying or he is speaking the truth. If he is lying, he should be immediately kicked out of the team of interlocutors.
If he is speaking the truth, he should still be sacked summarily for criminal negligence. As S Gurumurthy wrote in The New Indian Express (July 25), “The Institute of Conflict Management with excellent faculty, led by the legendary KPS Gill, had in a paper dated June 1, 2001, stated: ‘The HM (Hizbul Mujahideen) is closely linked to the Jamaat-e-Islami’, and ‘is allegedly backed by Ghulam Nabi Fai’s Kashmiri American Council’. Praveen Swami, well-known expert on terror, also then a special correspondent of Frontline, a magazine from The Hindu stable, wrote in February 2003: ‘The Hizb also regularly received funds gathered in the United States and United Kingdom by activists like Ayub Thakur and Ghulam Nabi Fai.’ (South Asia Intelligence Review: Weekly Assessments and Briefings Vol 1, No 31, February 17, 2003). So, Fai was even funding terror. Praveen Swami again wrote (in 2006): “Geelani used the cover of the Haj pilgrimage to hold extended discussions with…….the US-based Islamist leader, Ghulam Nabi Fai.’ (Ibid Vol 4, No 31, February 2006). The authentic facts uncovered by neutral experts had already exposed Fai as an accomplice of Hizbul Mujahideen. The leading lights of liberal India cannot feign that they did not know about Fai’s antecedents. Their claim to innocence is a post-facto alibi.”
Gurumurthy is absolutely right: those who pontificate about the ‘plight of Kashmiris’ ought to get their facts right before opening their mouths. Padgaonkar, in particular, needed to know more. If he is speaking the truth and he actually did not know Fai before the FBI’s expose, he is surely guilty of gross incompetence. In any case, he should be dropped as an interlocutor.