India bares ISI ploy to create rift with Gulf allies

While the world is battling coronavirus, Pakistan’s ISI hopes to use it as an opportunity to target India through false propaganda and create discord at home and abroad. Indian security agencies have unearthed several suspect online accounts that bear the stamp of the ISI targeting the Prime Minister and the government for its parochial objectives.Part of its evil design is to create misunderstanding and schism between India and friendly Islamic nations by circulating fake online news about Muslims being targeted for virus outbreak in the country. Hashtags, such as “Shame On Modi” and “Chaos In India”, were created by the Pakistani ISI to carry forward its nefarious plans, a top intelligence official said.“What has been the novelty in the instant case is the use of prominent personalities in Gulf countries to scale up a systematic agenda of fake propaganda … This effort has clear imprints of the involvement of Pakistan ISI,” the official told a newspaper requesting anonymity. The official said that the ISI plan is to flood the social media with messages to fuel anti-India sentiments in the Gulf region.These activities seemed to have gained ground as the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) in a statement voiced concern over the so-called “Islamophobia” in the country. India, however, has firmly rejected the statement as “factually inaccurate, misleading, and “deeply regrettable”, and urged it not to communalize the fight against the disease.

The ISI had used the social media route to target the Modi government even during the abrogation of Article 370 in erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir. The Pakistani agency had flooded the internet with anti-India messages in a concerted effort to undermine the government’s efforts.The OIC’s Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC), which has 57 Muslim member states, in a Twitter posts condemned the “unrelenting vicious #Islamophobic campaign in #India maligning Muslims for the spread of #COVID-19 as well as their negative profiling in media subjecting them to discrimination & violence with impunity.”

“#OIC-IPHRC urges the #Indian Govt to take urgent steps to stop the growing tide of #Islamophobia in India and protect the rights of its persecuted #Muslim minority as per its obligations under int’l HR law,” it had said in a second post.Reports of maltreatment of Indian Muslims have surfaced after a spike in COVID-19 cases that was seen as due to a congregation hosted last month by Islamic missionary group Tablighi Jamaat.

Referring to news reports of elements in Pakistan posing as an Omani princess on Twitter and using the fake account to spread misinformation and anti-India content, the person said that this move “clearly demonstrates the deliberate attempt to disturb social harmony in India and in that (Gulf) region.”

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