NEW DELHI: Professors and social activists with close links to the stances favoured by the Wahhabi lobby, are extensively helping in organising “Stand with Kashmir Teach-in” classes to spread a fake narrative about the situation in the valley to fuel a global protest against the abrogation of Article 370, which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

From Delhi to Washington DC and from Frankfurt to Hyderabad—“Stand with Kashmir Teach-in” classes are being held across the world, mostly in capital cities, to propagate lies and incite a violent protest against the abrogation of J&K’s special status. Those holding these classes are being funded by the Kashmiri separatist pro-Pakistan Wahhabi lobby. Ever since the abrogation of Article 370, Indian intelligence agencies have been worried about the growing presence of Wahhabism in the valley, which has the aim to incite armed violence. Such “teach in” classes are being seen as a sign of growing Wahhabi involvement in the global campaign to spread sympathy for the Two-Nation theory on which Article 370 is based, and which was the foundation of the Pakistan movement prior to Independence.

In a telephonic conversation with Nisha, a Washington-based policy analyst who attended a “Stand with Kashmir Teach-in” class in Washington DC said: “What I saw at the event held in Washington DC, was truly shocking for me and the lecture gave no hope that Kashmir will ever see a solution of the existing situation. As the room started to fill up, I noticed majority of the attendees were non-south Asian–giving me the impression that most had come with little background knowledge of Kashmir and had come to learn more–which was encouraging and frightening, all at the same time. The PPT presentation showcased images of the consequences of military occupation, without giving context that militarization came to the valley as a result of the increase in Islamic terrorism that started in the 90s.”

The “teach in” class started with Dr Hafsa Kanjwal, who narrated her version of the history of Kashmir from 1930. Kanjwal spoke about the “struggle” of the Kashmiris and how the community always wanted a separate identity/land that was being occupied by the Indian military, and also of the “role” played by one leader—Sheikh Abdullah. Her talk was only about his exile, and omitted the corruption his family lineage has brought to J&K. “Though I had thoughts on every point she made, I will not say that the history and sentiments she orated were totally untrue—but it was definitely a partially told one,” Nisha told The Sunday Guardian.

Nisha, who is a Kasmiri Pandit and was present at the “teach in” class held in Washington DC, said: “When the PPT slide on 1990 insurgency appeared, I was eagerly looking at it to see or hear about the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits so my heart could rest in peace knowing that our ethnic cleansing was not overlooked. However, to my dismay, the words ‘Kashmiri Hindus’ or ‘Kashmiri Pandits’ or ‘indigenous Kashmiri Hindu population’ were not uttered throughout the 15-20 minute presentation on Kashmir.”

On a question posed about the genocide of Kashmiri Pandits, Kanjwal replied, “The biggest narratives that the Indian state is able to peddle is in the late 1980s when the armed rebellion began, that the Kashmiri Pandits were killed in a genocide – right, the use of the word ‘genocide’ or ‘ethnic cleansing’ and driven out of their homes. So this narrative is being used again here as well–because one of the ways in which the Indian government pushed…” Before Hafsa could proceed further, an attendee from the audience interrupted and started to narrate that this is a 800 year old history and this is KP’s 7th exodus.” When I approached Hafsa one-on-one, she immediately questioned unrefuted history.” Kanjwal replied that there was no formal investigation done to understand why Hindus left. It wasn’t just Hindus who were killed, Muslims were killed too. It wasn’t targeted killings.

“Well, I hoped that she (Kanjwal) would use the platform in creating a good debate about Article370 and the future of the valley, but in reality, the platform was used for propagating falsehood and an untrue history of Kashmir—it was more about claims that the Indian military was involved in sexual violence and all sorts of violence in the valley,” Nisha added.

The “teach in” classes are not just being held in the West, they are also being held in the capital of India and in many other cities of the country.

As per some of the attendees, in these “teach in” classes, mostly the PPTs of fake images of military torture and brutality are shown to the youths. Short films largely filled with representative images and characters are also being screened at such classes. These fake videos have an impact on young minds, which is reflected during the question and answer session when young spectators ask questions about how the military has occupied Kashmir and suppressed the life and liberty of Kashmiri citizens.

The Sunday Guardian has learnt that several similar classes have been held on the Jawaharlal Nehru University campus, University of Hyderabad, Delhi University and at many other locations.

On the condition of anonymity, one of those who was present at a “teach in” class recently held in JNU, said, “It was shocking to know the story of torture done by the Indian military, but an hour long movie did not even tell once how the military was facing stone pelting and terrorism in the valley. The most shocking part of the movie was how the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Central government’s attempt was not to resolve the Kashmir issue, but to carry forward its agenda of communalism.”

Another attendee said: “While watching the entire movie, I realised that a narrative was being built that Kashmir should be given the freedom to join Pakistan and how the Indian military was crushing protests that were being held against the abrogation of Article 370. Also, the question-answer-session, which is usually held after the movie and PPT classes, adds astonishing claims like how the situation in the valley is out of control and the whole state has been held hostage by the Indian military. They forget to speak anything about Ladakh and Jammu.”

At the Press Club of India in New Delhi, a similar attempt was made by some Left and ultra Left activists, when they wanted to screen a movie, claimed to have been made by a fact-finding team, but the club administration did not allow the screening. The organisers later published the movie on YouTube.

While the people involved in these “teach in” classes claim that they are putting out facts in the public, domain experts and intelligence officials speak of a larger conspiracy. They say that these “teach in” classes, by disseminating wrong information about the valley, are basically helping the Wahhabi lobbyists who are working to create unrest in the valley.

The growing influence of Wahhabism in Kashmir is one of the most dangerous problems that the country is dealing with. The fast-growing influence of Wahhabism in Kashmir, especially during the last 30 years, is attributed to huge funding by the Saudi Arabian government and other Gulf countries, ostensibly for the construction of mosques and setting up of seminaries. The separatist hardliners follow the Wahhabi ideology.