Rajat Sharma

International conspiracy to defame India

The document also targets India’s image and soft power push and it also talks of targeting India’s Yoga and Chai image. The power point presentation gives details about how to discredit India. It was prepared by a Khalistani supporter Mo Dhaliwal, a PR strategy expert based in Vancouver, Canada. He is the Director of Strategy for Skyrocket Digital. His Twitter handle says, he “builds brands and digital products by day, and agitates by night”.

AKB30 The cat is finally out of the bag. There was an international conspiracy to defame India on the issue of farmers’ protests. On Wednesday, climate activist Greta Thunberg shared a “toolkit” on Twitter to amplify farmers’ voices, but she later hurriedly deleted the tweet when Twitterati accused her of being a part of an “international conspiracy to defame India”.

Pro-India supporters shared a hashtag @GretaThunbergExposed after the climate activist deleted her tweet. In her tweet, Greta had written “Here’s a toolkit if you want to help”. She shared a link to a Google Document that mentioned several resources to mobilize people against India’s farm laws. The now-deleted document consisted of a list of actions taken in the past to amplify farmers’ voices online.

This document shared mistakenly by Greta reveal how tweets posted in support of farmers’ protests in India by pop star Rihanna and other celebrities were not organic but were part of a larger PR campaign to defame India internationally. It was part of a planned and pre-scripted campaign. It called for a “Global Day Of Action” on January 26 (India’s Republic Day) which was expected “to highlight issues…relating to oppression of its citizens in favour of corporate interests, curtailed press freedoms and harassment of independent journalists, persecution of the critics of the government with charges of anti-nationalism”.

The document also targets India’s image and soft power push and it also talks of targeting India’s Yoga and Chai image. The power point presentation gives details about how to discredit India. It was prepared by a Khalistani supporter Mo Dhaliwal, a PR strategy expert based in Vancouver, Canada. He is the Director of Strategy for Skyrocket Digital. His Twitter handle says, he “builds brands and digital products by day, and agitates by night”.

The co-ordinated tweets against Indian government by Rihanna, Greta Thunberg, former porn star Mia Khalifa, US Vice President Kamala Harris’ niece Meena Harris on Wednesday over the farmers’ issue evoke a strong rebuttal from the Ministry of External Affairs, which said: “Before rushing to a comment on such matters, we would urge that the facts be ascertained, and a proper understanding of the issues at hand be undertaken. The temptation of sensationalist social media hashtags and comments, especially when resorted to by celebrities and others, is neither accurate nor responsible.”

Bollywood celebrities like Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn, Suneil Shetty, Karan Johar, Ekta Kapoor and cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli and Anil Kumble in tweets, opposed the social media campaign and called for Indians to resolve their problem themselves and outsiders to stay away.

Rihanna, Greta and others of their ilk hardly know much about the intricacies of the issues confronting farmers, but have been made part of a concerted PR campaign handled by none other than this Khalistani supporter based in Canada.

In my prime time show ‘Aaj Ki Baat’ on Wednesday night, I had showed several videos which are damning evidences of a conspiracy hatched and executed by anti-national elements. Several days before Republic Day, these rioters went around in villages of Punjab exhorting farmers to march to Delhi “and occupy the Red Fort”. Villagers in Punjab were told by these elements that till now Prime Ministers used to hoist the national flag from Red Fort, and now it’s our turn to hoist a flag from the same monument.

A trained person who had the expertise of climbing up poles and hoist flags on gurdwaras was brought to Delhi. Jugraj Singh, a 23-year-old man from Wan Tara Singh village of Taran Taran district of Punjab, was hired for this purpose. He was a small-time employee in Bengaluru several years ago, returned home, and started earning money by climbing up poles and domes of village gurdwaras to hoist the sacred Nishan Sahib flag.

On January 26, as the mob entered the ramparts of Red Fort, Jugraj Singh rushed forward carrying the religious flag and another yellow banner, climbed up the pole within minutes, and hoisted them. This video was telecast live on Facebook by the mastermind of the plot, Deep Sidhu, a Punjabi actor-cum-political activist.

Deep Sidhu’s stay at the Red Fort and his escape was meticulously planned. Soon after this flag hoisting, he rode a bike and fled, and is still underground. Jugraj Singh has also gone underground. In his Facebook videos, Deep Sidhu has admitted that he was approached by Congress and AAP leaders in Punjab during the farmers agitation.

There was a third key person, Iqbal Singh from Ludhiana, who stood among the violent mob at the ramparts of Red Fort. He was assigned the task of instigating the mob to force its way into the Red Fort.

In the video, Iqbal Singh was using abusive words against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. When the mob tried to forcibly enter Red Fort, the paramilitary personnel guarding the fort, closed three main entrances from Lahori Gate side. They bolted the gates with long steel rods and chains. Iqbal Singh was seen in the video egging on the mob to break open the gates with iron rods. He was asking the mob to climb up the gates and enter the fort. Iqbal Singh was also seen in the video asking the mob to pull down the national flag. He was also seen threatening security personnel with bloodshed, if the mob was not allowed to enter.

The farmer leaders now sitting on dharna at Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur borders must ponder why they failed to prevent the rioters from causing insult to our national heritage on Republic Day. They should come out and tell people what punishment must be meted out to the plotters and rioters.

I can say with confidence that the thousands of farmers who had reached Delhi borders on January 26, did not know about the sacrilege that was being committed at Red Fort. I also agree that most of the farmer leaders were unaware about the Red Fort plot. With tears in eyes, these leaders had tendered their apology to the nation. But they cannot deny the fact that they have many anti-national elements sitting in their midst in the garb of farmers. The only motive of these anti-national elements was to tarnish the nation’s reputation.

Elements from anti-Indian lobbies that are active in world capitals are now desperate, because the ongoing farmers’ protest has failed to create any ripples across the world. Major world powers consider these protests as India’s domestic issue. These anti-national lobbies are now taking recourse to social media, using the Twitter handles of Rihanna, Greta, Mia Khalifa and others.

There are many forces on the international level that are inimical to India’s interests. They are envious of India which is fast emerging as a big power and winning laurels by sending Covid vaccines to countries in South Asia, Brazil, Southeast Asia, Africa and other countries.

These forces, which never wanted India to emerge as a world power, are surprised over how India successfully tackled the Covid pandemic. They had expected thousands of deaths in India due to pandemic and starvation, but this did not happen, through timely imposition of lockdown, free cash and foodgrains given to the poor and nationwide healthcare facilities. Today, after a 10-month-long war against Corona, India can safely claim that the pandemic is now under control.

For those in the opposition in India, who cannot digest the fact that Narendra Modi’s stature has gone up by many notches after the successful handling of the pandemic, the farmers’ protests have come as a handy stick to flog a dead horse. Leaders and parties, who failed to defeat Modi at the hustings, not once, but twice, are now desperate. They are now out to embarrass Modi by tarnishing India’s reputation on the world stage.

These leaders fail to realize that Modi is not an individual, he is a Prime Minister elected with huge majority by the people, and he represents India in the world arena. The world knows that Modi is a leader who cannot be cowed down easily, and both our neighbours Pakistan and China have realized this to their utter discomfort.

The world knows that India as a nation, is united, and the farmers’ protest is an issue that needs to be solved domestically. We will never allow international propaganda to cow us down, nor will we ever allow our nation to hang its head in shame.

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