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Newslaundry comes to rescue of Kashmiri terrorist Mukhtar Baba

On Friday (December 2), leftist propaganda outlet Newslaundry desperately attempted to whitewash the ‘sins’ of a Turkey-based, Pakistan-funded ‘terrorist‘ named Mukhtar Baba. Apart from separatist terror activities, Baba is also known for issuing threats to journalists based in Kashmir.

In an article written by Newslaundry reporter Ayush Tiwari, he tried to portray Mukhtar as an ex-journalist, supposedly under attack from the Indian State. From the very onset of the article, he was hellbent on giving an image makeover to Mukhtar Baba by consciously substituting terrorism with ‘militancy.’

The attempt by Mukhtar in the 1990s to undermine India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity was dubbed the ‘fight for Kashmiri separatism.’ Newslaundry went on to romanticise his supposed decision of ‘giving up the gun’ and starting life afresh, as a journalist.

Screengrab of the article by News Laundry

The report expressed displeasure at the intelligence dossier, prepared by security agencies, wherein it accused Mukhtar Baba of masterminding threats to over 40 journalists in the Kashmir Valley. Ayush Tiwari conveyed his angst through the deliberate use of words such as ‘purported’, and ‘unnamed security agencies’.

He wrote, “Baba, in these media reports, wasn’t an alleged terror operative, or a former journalist purportedly accused by security agencies of being a terrorist, but a straight-up Turkey-based terror operative.” With this, the portal directly suggested that Mukhtar Baba is actually not a terrorist, but has been painted as a terrorist by the media and police.

Newslaundry went on to suggest that the intelligence dossier was prepared by analysing the social media activity of Mukthar Baba. “…At least some of the claims seem to come from Baba’s social media activity which includes pictures of him in Turkey in  and ,” the report claimed.

The leftist propaganda outlet also downplayed the fact that Mukhtar Baba went to Pakistan as a spokesperson for Masarat Alam Bhat, who has been serving jail time for masterminding stone-pelting protests in Kashmir in 2010.

A popular Twitter user (@OSINTWa_com), which specialises in Open Source Intelligence Analysis, pointed out that Mukhtar attended an event of Pak-based the Legal Forum for Oppressed Voices of Kashmir (LFOVK).

Citing Disinfo Lab, it added that carried LFOVK carried out a hitjob against the Indian Army Chief & India’s Home Minister in January 2021, in collaboration with Turkey-backed firm, Stoke White LLC.

Rubaiya Sayeed abduction case and Newslaundry’s attempt at contextualisation

Newslaundry tried to contextualise the decision of Mukhtar to become a terrorist and then went on to blame the police for pushing him to the jaws of extremism.

“A victory celebration ensued in Srinagar, but it was targeted by the police. It was this crackdown that pushed Baba to militancy,” the report insinuated. While the portal wrote that Mukhtar Baba had himself had admitted that he had joined terrorism, they still went on to claim that he was painted as a terrorist by the media and police. The Newslaundry article cites a BBC report from 2009 where Baba told BBC that he took up guns to take on India.

“The German people stood up against that man-made Berlin wall, so we thought why don’t we, and we started that armed struggle here,” Mukhtar Baba was quoted in the BBC report, which was cited by NewsLaundry, but still the portel does not believe that he is a terrorist, and accuses media of wrongly labelling him a terrorist.

Ayush Tiwari, the Newslaundry reporter, made the claims in the context of the Rubaiya Sayeed abduction case of 1989.

The Indian government was forced to release 5 terrorists to ensure the safe return of Rubaiya, the sister of Mehbooba Mufti and the daughter of Mufti Mohammad Saeed.

Rubaiya Sayeed with father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed after being released by terrorists

Following the release of the terrorists associated with the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), local supporters took to the streets in celebration. The police clamped down on the terror sympathisers to restore law and order situation.

According to Newslaundry, this became a turning point in the life of Mukhtar Baba that the otherwise ‘innocent man’ had to tread the path of terrorism. The leftist propaganda portal then labelled his association with a Kashmir-based terror outfit, Hizbullah, as ‘affiliation with the militant group.’

While trying to provide an image makeover to Mukhtar, Newslaundry also used the opportunity to label the abrogation of Article 370 as the ‘removal of residual autonomy’ of Jammu and Kashmir.

Ayush Tiwari saw to it that the perspective of a ‘terrorist’ cum ‘journalist’, with ties to Pakistan, is included in his article so that the abrogation of Article 370 can be dismissed as ‘draconian.’

“We are back to the bloody stone age, man…We have not been in touch with our families, our friends, and our colleagues. They don’t know whether I’m alive and I don’t know whether they are alive,” Newslaundry quoted Mukhtar Baba as saying.

The leftist propaganda outlet then pointed out how the ‘terrorist’ is not an ordinary man but holds a master’s degree in political science. “Besides journalism, he has dabbled in public relations and was the consulting head of an event management company called Kashmir News Communications between 2000 and 2009,” it added.

As expected, the leftist outlet forgot to mention how Mukhtar Baba had demanded the boycott of his India’s products in the aftermath of the Nupur Sharma row.

Twitter user (@OSINTWa_com) pointed out, “Mukhtar actively supported Muslim brotherhood propaganda of #BoycottIndianProducts, supported by Qatar, Turkey, & Pakistan. This alone is enough to show his loyalties and his agenda.”

Newslaundry then went on to cast aspersions about the Indian security apparatus and insinuated that the State is hellbent on intimidating Kashmir-based journalists, including Sanna Irshad Mattoo, who is known for her pro-Pakistani rhetorics and support for Islamic extremists.

The aim of the Newslaundry article is clear, to paint a terrorist, who himself had admitted that he joined armed fight against India, and against whom the intelligence agencies of substantial evidence, as not a terrorist but a victim of a wrongful allegation by media and police.

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