The Ministry of External Affairs led by S Jaishankar has asked United Kingdom (UK) and Canada why they allowed their soil to host an event on ‘unfounded’ remarks on Indian press freedom. The British and Canadian High Commissions were being held accountable for a presentation by Vinod K Jose, executive editor of The Caravan, an openly anti-India magazine which has been allowed to publish for more than a decade. The magazine has often taken a line sympathizing with Kashmiri armed separatism and Naxalism.
“It is unacceptable and unfortunate that their governments have provided a platform where totally unfounded remarks were allowed to be made” told the S. Jaishankar led Foreign Ministry to the High Commissions of UK and Canada.
Vinod K Jose made presentation on erosion of press freedom and rising intolerance in India at the Global Conference for Media Freedom in London which was organized by UK and Canadian government. As if this was not enough, Jose wrote a letter to British and Canadian government to be ‘vigilant’ on issue of press freedom in India.
“I hope you and your office will take up these grave matters at all appropriate forums, and will let your vigilance be known to the government of India,” said Vinod K Jose in a letter addressed to Jeremy Hunt, former Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, Chrystia Freeland, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Canada and the organisers and delegates of the Global Conference for Media Freedom 2019.
Prasar Bharati chairman A. Surya Prakash who was part of Indian delegation at the conference slammed Jose and said, “Those who raise a question mark about press freedom in India must be really tone deaf… In fact, (of) the present political leaders of the country from across parties, there are a large number who have fought for restoration of democracy and press freedom in the mid-1970s in this country. For them, democracy is very clear. You must see the plurality of news media in India.”
Vinod K Jose is well known for his anti-Indian stance and The Caravan which he leads has a dismal record over years for its agenda-driven reporting. During his presentation Vinod K Jose had claimed that “a hundred Christians were murdered in India” and “the RSS engineered the pogrom against the Sikhs in 1984”.
Appointed as the executive editor of Caravan in August 2005 by his fellow Columbia University mate Anand Nath, grandson of Vishwa Nath, the founder of the magazine, Vinod K Jose is a vocal supporter of separatists like Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Afzal Guru, the mastermind of 2001 Indian parliament attacks.
He was also questioned by Crime Branch in New Delhi for the articles he had written in support of Geelani and Afzal Guru. He opposed the death penalty to terrorists and released a statement seeking clemency for Afzal Guru “I don’t want a fellow Indian to get the death penalty” read his statement. He is also a supporter of Maoist cause and posted the following picture with Maoist guerillas in central India’s Bastar forest.
On one hand, he supports spearatists like SAR Geelani, and on the other, he calls VHP a militant and Hindu extremist group. Vinod K Jose even had a problem with an economic advisor to Obama government being associated with VHP. “The economist of Indian origin on President-Elect Barack Obama’s transition team, Ms. Sonal Shah, has one dubious credential on her resume–her relationship with the Hindu extremist group, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP)…This militant group was held responsible for the genocidal pogroms against Muslims in the western Indian state of Gujarat in 2002 that killed 2,000 people and rendered 100,000 homeless. Ms. Shah was the “National Coordinator” for the VHP in North America. So the lingering question is: why hasn’t the Obama team vetted enough on Ms. Sonal Shah’s Hindu extremist connections?” wrote Jose in Countercurrents.org, a leftist publication. And this agenda-driven presentation in London is just in continuation of his anti-India stance for long which has been further pointed out in this report.