- Several Dalit organizations on Dalit and caste lines have mushroomed on US soil in the last few years.
- Some of the key organizations that have emerged into the mainstream are Equality Labs and OFMI.
- The commonality between them- rose to the mainstream with the help of Jamaat groups.
- OFMI was shut down after Disinfo Lab exposed it in 2021. But Equality Labs continued to work with Pak-backed Jamaat subsidiaries.
But how did this Dalit advocacy movement start on foreign soil?
- In the late 1990s, an obscure-sounding organization was registered by the Church-going White faces in the US with the name Dalitstan.
- The motive of Dalitstan ostensibly was to advocate for Dalits and ‘black’ untouchables in India. However, in the garb of these issues, it had a bigger agenda i.e., promoting the ideas of breaking India.
- Dalitstan was being promoted in India through various websites.
- A key website promoting Dalitstan was IndianMuslims.info, whose founder Kashif Ul Huda has been a part of an intricate network of the US Jamaat fronts such as IAMC and ICNA, and is also in a close tandem with yet Jamaat-backed Equality Lab, which is being projected as the key front for running the Dalit/ Caste discourse.
- Kashif Ul Huda runs a news portal- Two Circles.net which was earlier registered in India, but later shifted to the US after a few years.
- TCN website covers news/ stories related to the marginalized sections of India, including Muslims, Dalits, and Adivasis.
- However, it was found to be practicing selective journalism and only covered cases that met the interests of its backers.
- Now these groups have been able to hijack the Dalit line narrative & conveniently tarnishing India’s image through media reporting, by penetrating campaigns and even by targeting companies abroad.
- Only that they have been an integral part of the same nexus that was put into play back in 1990s-2000s and now operating via different fronts and on designated Indian fault lines including Caste line.
- Both Kashif and Equality Labs’ founder Thenmozhi Soundarajan, who is duly backed by Pak-Jamaat fronts have been active since early 2000s. Just that, they were running different fronts back then and now they have emerged as front runners through their respective fronts.
Part I: The Gravest Indian fault-line: Caste
Chapter 1: Equality Labs
In June 2022, one of the Silicon Valley giants Google Inc was in mid of a controversy after an event on Caste discrimination was called off. The speaker who was supposed to speak at the event, alleged Google to be a Caste bias company. 1 Subsequently, a senior manager at the company resigned to protest against the cancellation of the event. The entire development of events led to Google getting called diversity and equity intolerant company. 2 3 4
In the second instance, another Silicon Valley giant, Apple August 2022 became one of the first tech companies, to ban caste discrimination in the company. This led other companies such as IBM to follow suit to implement the new law against caste discrimination. 5
What is the buzz all about?
Such incidents where the US Tech giants have been dragged into controversies have surfaced in recent times. However, the trigger of such events goes back to 2020, when a lawsuit was filed against an IT firm Cisco Systems Inc., on the grounds of Caste discrimination against one of its American-Indian employees. 6
The key entity that happens to be common behind all these events is US-based Equality Labs. As instanced in our report “The Longest War- Operation Tupac”, on the Caste Faultline in the US. 7 Equality Labs was formed in 2016 as an Ambedkarite South Asian power-building organization in the US with the motive too is to “center the leadership of South Asian minority groups in the ongoing redefinition of South Asian identity in the United States, across the Diaspora, and in our home countries, from India to Tamil Eelam, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Tibet, and Pakistan.” 8
Thenmozhi’s father, Thalavaipalayam Soundarajan is a doctor, who shifted to the US in the 1970s after graduating from Madras Medical College. He pursued Internal Medicine at the University of California in 1973-74 and later on settled in the US. 9 In his career as a medical practitioner, Dr. TSS Rajan also got into several controversies and legal battles owing to his medical incompetency. 10 11 12 While her mother Dr. Thilakavathy Soundarajan is a medical practitioner who graduated from Coimbatore Medical College in 1975 before shifting to the US. 13 She earned her US Doctorate in June 2000. 14 Her parents got divorced in 1998 when she was 12 years old. 15 Thenmozhi’s marriage also couldn’t sustain. Thenmozhi was married to an Electrical Engineer Cyril Drame who works at UC Berkeley. 16 Their marriage didn’t last as on February 27, 2009, Cyril filed a lawsuit against Thenmozhi following their divorce however the case is still pending. 17
Equality Labs’ co-founder is Sharmin Hossain, a Bangladeshi American, who served as the Political Director before rendering her resignation in March 2021. 18 In April 2021, she founded a new organization Queer Crescent, which is described as a political home for LGBTQI+ Muslims. 19
EL’s cofounders/ members have pulled off acts in the public for publicity. One of EL’s members is Aruna Lohitakshi Sanghapali (also Sanghapali Aruna Kornana), an anti-caste activist and Executive Director of Project Mukti. Project Mukti is an incubator working as a Dalit, Bahujan, and Adivasi women and children-focused start-up working to end the effects of caste, tribe, and class discrimination. 20
Her family was closely associated with the Backward and Minority Communities Employees Federation (BAMCEF). She is a leading member of the Dalit Women Self-Respect Yatra that focuses on ending Caste-Based Sexual Violence and has also represented Dalit women in a side event of the 26th session of UNHRC, Geneva in June 2014 sponsored by several organizations including Human Rights Watch, Minority Rights Group, Franciscan International, and Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development, organized in association with the International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN) and co-sponsored by Denmark and Norway. 21 22
She is currently a doctoral fellow in Linguistics at JNU, New Delhi. 28 Aruna Sanghapali was one of the key persons who organized a placard holding with the former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey promoting ‘Smash Brahminical Patriarchy’ and ‘End Caste Apartheid’ posters in 2018. 29
Chapter 2: Equality Labs 2018 Caste report
Equality Labs’ claim to fame has been 2018 a single survey report on Caste in the last six years. 30 This EL report was later used as a means to mainstream Equality Labs. Two years later, Equality Labs started gaining prominence from 2020 onwards as its report was used in the lawsuit filed against CISCO. 31 Since then, EL is being seen as a stalwart organization in the US. CISCO employee Prathap Balakrishnan, who works as a Technical Lead there also played a key role in curating the 2018 Caste report of Equality Labs. 32 Two years later, CISCO was in the middle of the controversy about caste discrimination, and the case was built on the 2018 Caste report of Equality Labs.
The report on caste published by Equality Labs credits several ‘activists’ and ‘organizations’ that are behind its curation. And it is this report that tells us all that we need to know about the people behind the organization and its ulterior agenda. EL published its caste report in the US with the assistance of several organizations such as IAMC, OFMI, and AJA – a coalition of organizations alongside IAMC, OFMI, and HfHR. 33 The readers of DisInfo Lab Reports would be very much familiar with these organizations. For reference, you may see our past reports on these fronts:
- IAMC: Indian American Muslim Council
- OFMI: Organization for Minorities of India
- HfHR: Hindus for Human Rights
- AJA: Alliance for Justice and Accountability
These organizations are fronts created by Pak Establishment/ Jamaat-e-Islami in the US as part of its longest war against India. And as if to confirm our suspicion, the names of Bhajan Singh Bhinder and his entity Organization for Minorities of India (OFMI) were removed from the EL report following the formers’ expose in 2021 in “The Unending War Part 1”. 34 35 It is worth asking Equality Labs what were the reasons for hiding their association with Bhinder and OFMI.
After having seen how the EL report was being used as an apparatus to mainstream the organization, it was imperative to understand the people behind the report and its contributors starting from its authors. The report was co-authored by three people namely Natasha Dar, EL’s Research Director Maari Zwick Maitreyi, and Thenmozhi Soundarajan.
Each of these characters tells an interesting story.
Chapter 3: Equality Labs & Huma Dar
The co-author of Equality Labs 2018 Annual caste report is Natasha Dar, the daughter of the Khalistani sympathizer, Huma Dar (formerly Huma Farooq Dar).
Huma Dar has been living in the US since the 1990s. She completed her graduation with Bachelor in Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley (1995 batch). She pursued her Master of Arts in South Asian Studies at, the University of California in 2002. 36 Huma Dar is the core of not one but several fronts and fault traces of India. She has been a key proponent of the Kashmir-Khalistan desk (K2) conceived by Pakistan’s ISI. Her role in the Khalistan movement is by publicly delivering speeches to espouse the formation of Khalistan. On June 11, 2017, Huma Dar attended a Sikh rally in San Francisco and sympathized with the Khalistani movement. 37
And on the Kashmir desk, she portrays herself as an expert on the Kashmir conflict. She was listed as an expert in the Pakistan-backed organization Stand with Kashmir (SWK) which portrays as the stalwart activism group on the Kashmir conflict in the US. 38 Over the years of her stay in the US, Huma also set forth her journey as an ‘expert’ on the caste lines. She was one of the advisory board members of Equality Labs (as of 2018) when her daughter Natasha Dar co-authored EL’s only report on caste. 39 Thenmozhi’s mother has a fond relationship with both Huma Dar and Natasha Dar on Facebook. 40
Huma Dar’s calls to ‘punish India’
Most recently, Huma Dar started seeding the call for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement (BDSM) against India in 2019. A total of 55 academics, filmmakers, activists, and lawyers jointly called for the BDS movement against India over the purported views of India following Israel’s model in Kashmir. 41 Some of the names in the list comprised of individuals who have been actively perpetuating the Kashmir conflict industry.
Some of the other key names in the list include:
- Farhan Mujahid Chak- A Pakistani national currently living in Qatar and the Secretary General of the organization Kashmir Civitas (KC) that has bases in Toronto, Istanbul, Qatar, London, and Beijing. In December 2021, KC spearheaded a three-day tribunal that was co-organized by several organizations backed by Pakistan and is inclined toward the global Muslim Brotherhood. Later, KC released a toolkit that proposed the BDS movement against India. 42 43
- Angana Chatterji- She is a research anthropologist and founding co-chair of, the Political Conflict, Gender and People’s Rights Initiative at the Center for Race and Gender at the University of California, Berkeley. 44 Besides, she has been a close aide of the convicted ISI puppet Ghulam Nabi Fai.
- Haley Duschinski- She is an associate professor of anthropology at Ohio University. She appeared in the picture of the Kashmir conflict industry from 2016 onwards. 45
- Hafsa Kanjwal- She is an Assistant Professor of South Asian History at Lafayette College. She was groomed by none other than Ghulam Nabi Fai and by the Pakistani embassy in Washington in the early 2000s. Kanjwal has been given prominence from 2019 onwards and is one of the key faces of the Pak-backed organization, Stand with Kashmir (SWK). 46
Most recently, Dar also attended the Russell Tribunal on Kashmir (RToK) held in Sarajevo (Bosnia, & Herzegovina) in December 2021 on the Kashmir issue to give precursor to a larger agenda i.e., the BDS movement. 47
Why a person would be working on not one but numerous fronts and would be in charge of activities in regards to targeting India?
Huma Dar has established herself as an anchor to all the actions that take place to widen the Indian fault lines, from being an expert on the Kashmir war to sympathizing with and endorsing the Khalistani movement, to being part of the organization that pursues India’s caste line in the US.
Chapter 4: An untold story of Pak Army officer: Bashir-Uddin Ahmad
To understand the present objectives and stance one needs to understand her past whereabouts and family roots. Huma was born on October 22, 1963, in Murree, Punjab (Pakistan) to Lieutenant Colonel Bashir Uddin Ahmad and Khalida Bashir Ahmad.
Bashir Uddin Ahmad was born on October 18, 1924, in Srinagar, Kashmir, and later went to Pakistan after the partition. There he joined the Pakistani army and subsequently got promoted and served as a Lieutenant Colonel until he retired. We found that Bashir Uddin Ahmad was present on at least two occasions while serving in the Pakistani army, both of which occurred during the Indo-Pak war in 1965 and 1971.
First case: Battle of Asal Uttar
The battle of Asal Uttar which is known as one of the largest tank battles ever fought during an Indo-Pak war took place between September 8-10, 1965. Pakistan’s 1st Armoured Division and 11th Infantry Division breached the international border to capture the Indian town of Khem Karan.
Indian army retaliated with brute tactical force and emerged victorious in what also ended as the most humiliating defeat for Pakistan in a war. Pakistan admitted to losing 165 tanks during the 1965 war, out of which half of them were destroyed during the Battle of Asal Uttar. Lt. Colonel Bashir Ahmad, who was in the 19th Lancers under the 3rd Armoured Brigade was also there in the Asal Uttar war. According to one of the accounts of the battle of Asal Uttar, an incident occurred between two Pak army regiments resulting in some losses due to a mix-up in communications at Chawinda. Following that, Lt. Colonel Bashir Ahmad was blamed for the mishappening but was later reinstated on the front-line duty following detailed investigations over the charges against him.
After the 1965 war, Lt. Colonel Bashir Ahmad was assigned to command the Guides Cavalry. The investigating officer looking into Bashir Ahmad’s case was Gen. Abrar Hussain, who was supposed to absolve the former who passed away due to a stroke. Subsequently, the board led by General Yahya Khan (3rd President of Pakistan) sacked Bashir Uddin in 1966 without having a complete briefing of the investigation; therefore, drawing curtains to his military career. 49
Second case: Posted in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh)
In the second instance, Lt. Colonel Bashir Ahmad was once posted in then-East Pakistan (Bangladesh) in the Pakistani army as a Lieutenant. It is not clear in which year, but one of his colleagues, Captain Qayyum, whose daughter Fareeha is also listed as a family member of Huma Dar played a significant role in the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. 50
The 1971 Bangladesh genocide is one of the largest genocides perpetrated on the civilian population at the behest of the Pakistani army and the brutal militant group Al-Badr and Jamaat-e-Islami members from March 26-December 16, 1971. However, with the intervention of India led to the Indo-Pak war that lasted from December 3-16, 1971, and saw the subsequent formation of a newly independent nation, Bangladesh.
According to Banglapedia, the Pakistani army designed a blueprint to carry out the whole barbaric act was chalked out by ten people and led by Major General Rao Farman Ali, the military adviser to the Governor of East Pakistan. And the execution of the blueprint was carried out by Lt Colonel Hejazi, Major Zahur, Major Aslam, Captain Nasir, and Captain Qayyum. 51
After having served humiliation in 1971, Pakistan set out to strategize and implement covert plans and operations to balkanize and bleed India by a thousand cuts. Subsequently, Pakistan under the leadership of Zia Ul Haq launched Operation Tupac. 56
Post the authorization of Operation Tupac, a plethora of organizations mushroomed in the US, as well as in Kashmir. India’s fault lines were identified and later organizations were deployed to operate on them. Organizations in
Kashmir, Khalistan, and the caste line mushroomed in the US, a safe sanctuary for those organizations to operate.
Bashir Uddin passes the baton to his daughter
Bashir Uddin himself went behind the scene and the baton was passed on to his progenies. Bashir Uddin Ahmad passed away in February 2016 aged 94, however, her daughter continues to carry the baton. Therefore, it may not be difficult to understand why Huma Dar is part of all these circuits today that aim to target India, not through one but several fault lines varying from Kashmir-Khalistan (K2) to now Dalit line, and herself constitutes an ecosystem of all these fronts, all intended to deepen India’s fault lines.
Chapter 5: The Curious Case of Maari Zwick Maitreyi
The third author of EL’s caste report is Maari Zwick Maitreyi, the co-founder and Research Director of Equality Labs and has long been associated with Thenmozhi Soundarajan. 57 58 Apart from leading EL and co-authoring its caste report, Maari Zwick Maitreyi is also credited with the formation of “Dalit History Month” (DHM), a project which was launched by the Dalit Nation along with Project Mukti in 2015. 59 60 However, after the launch of Equality Labs in 2016, the credit for the launch of the DHM project has been taken by Equality Labs, the successor of the Dalit Nation. 61
However, she was found in yet another organization, a news portal Two Circles. Two Circles is a Massachusetts-based not-for-profit news portal that covers stories pertaining to “marginalized sections of India.” 62
But there was a catch to it.
Maari was associated with the news portal, Two Circles but with a different name, donning an altogether different identity, that of a journalist by the name of Valli Karunakaran.
Valli Karunakaran alias Maari Zwick Maitreyi is the Director and Executive Editor of Two Circles. 63 After having worked at Two Circles as the editor for two years, Valli Karunakaran joined its leadership in November 2017. 64
Valli Karunakaran is a Dalit activist and a biochemist who holds a Ph.D. degree in biology and has been working with TCN since 2016. It is not clear whether Valli alias Maari has publicly claimed both the identities as hers or not, but at first glance, both these identities and their social media presence look unlike each other.
While Valli has been associated with the journalism field through TCN, her second identity has been to be in the field of activism.
Three names from one entity:
Not once, but at least three names in the EL’s report pointed towards one entity- Two Circles, a news portal based out of Massachusetts, USA that reports about the marginalized communities in India. The report thanked two key individuals i.e., Kashif Ul Huda and Vinay Bhatt, the founder and former Director of Two Circles respectively. The third key person associated with Two Circles was the report’s co-author Maari Zwick Maitreyi herself.
- Equality Labs’ only caste report (2018) is now used as the base to drag US-based tech giants into controversy.
- The report was co-authored by three people: Thenmozhi Soundarajan, Natasha Dar, and Maari Zwick Maitreyi.
- Natasha Dar’s mother, Huma Dar is the daughter of Lt. Colonel Bashir Uddin Ahmad was a high-ranking Pakistani army officer.
- Presently, Huma Dar is engaged with all possible prominent movements and organizations intended to dent India’s image.
- At least three names in the EL lab report pointed toward a news portal Two Circles, Inc.
Part II: Two Circles- Past
Chapter 6: Two Circles- The Founder
As instanced earlier, TCN’s founder and former Director were instrumental in EL’s report on the caste issue. The news portal was formed in 2006-07 as a news platform with a budget of USD 1200. 65 The stated aim of launching Two Circles was to cater to the issues and interests of Indian Muslims. And the key person behind its formation is Kashif Ul-Huda, who has had not one, but several ventures in the US, India, and Pakistan. To understand what went behind opening several businesses, followed by opening a news portal (TCN), it is important to understand the person behind them.
Kashif Ul Huda
Born in Muzaffarpur, Bihar, Kashif Ul Huda, and his family shifted to Jamshedpur where his father Zahoorul Hoda worked at TATA Companies (Telco). Kashif completed his early education in Jamshedpur. He did his early schooling at St. Joseph’s High School in Jamshedpur before enrolling himself in Maharishi Vidya Mandir in Lucknow. 66 67 As a child, Kashif claims he’d witnessed riots in Jamshedpur in 1979 and later in 1992 in Lucknow.
Furthermore, he claimed to have moved to the US in the 1990s to pursue higher education wherein he studied Biochemistry and Cell Biology at the University of California, San Diego. 68 However, his interviews have seemed to contradict his claims about his past, especially about the time he went to the US in the 1990s or 2000s. 69
Kashif is married to Zainab Lakhani, the daughter of Durdana Parveen (late). 70 71 Zainab is a Vascular Surgery Technologist and a former member of the Cambridge Human Rights Commission (Sep 2014 – Dec 2016). 72 She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Florida Atlantic University and has worked as a writer, editor, and columnist for online portals. 73 Furthermore, Zainab also ran for Presidential Primary from Cambridge, Massachusetts as a Democrat in 2012. 74 75
Kashif has successfully formed several ventures, some along with Zainab since the 1990s. The first organization formed as early as 1998-99 with a website ‘Urdustan’, followed by online portals, including Two Circles, INC. In one of the interviews in 2010, Kashif stated that the news platform operates via community funding and employees work remotely. 76 At that time, Kashif was living in the US, while TCN was operating from India.
Chapter 7: Kashif’s ventures in Pakistan
It was after shifting to the US in the 1990s, Kashif got introduced to the internet and that is when he became a technophile. He set up an Urdu website named Urdustan in 1997 which later got prominence as the oldest Urdu website on the internet. 77 Under Urdustan, Kashif launched other key projects which later prospered into standalone portals including his present venture- Two Circles. 78
However, his first ever venture was not run by himself alone, but from different other places including Pakistan, Dubai, and India.
Kashif along with his wife Zainab Lakhani started a website for Urdu poetry Urdustan.com. The website first started as ANAM or A Nazm A Month and continued to grow since the early days of 1997 to become urdustan.com on 13th August 1998. 79 The website was designed by two people: Kashif and Naseem Amjad, a Lahore-based web developer. 80 Urdustan was later turned into a registered entity on January 4, 2007, though is currently inactive. 81
Urdustan was based in San Diego, USA, however, it was also run by people from India, Dubai, USA, and Pakistan. 82 Urdustan had a network of Urdu sites such as kitaabghar.com, UrduCorner.com, and Urdustan.net.
Apart from his online venture Urdustan, Kashif also had a couple of ventures running from Pakistan – two book publishing houses namely: Ilmo Irfan and Kitaabghar. 83 84 Kashif is credited with registering the website domains of both these publishing houses that operate from Lahore and Rawalpindi respectively. 85
Chapter 8: IndianMuslims.info
Kashif launched another website IndianMuslims (IndianMuslims.info) in 2002, (contrary to his claims of launching the website in 2005). 86 IndianMuslims was intended to cover the news and information about the Muslim world, primarily focusing on Muslims in the Indian subcontinent. 87 One key driving factor of the portal as per Kashif was to cover news and publications on the Gujarat riots. 88 Later on, IndianMuslims.info transformed into a key baby project of Kashif (which will be discussed in subsequent parts). IndianMuslims.info endorsed several websites pertaining to the interests of Dalits and Muslims in India. 89
For Muslims, the website recommended two key websites: Muslimunity.cc 90 & Irf.net. Muslimunity.cc was anonymously run by and promoted links for “Exposing Hindutva” and “Dark side of Hinduism” on its websites. The website was founded on October 13, 2001, to establish Khilafat and promote the Islamic way of life all over the world. 91 Irf.net is the Islamic Relief Foundation- by Zakir Naik. In addition, several other resources/ references were noted by Kashif’s ‘IndianMuslims.Info, all somehow connected with Pakistan.
It also contained another key website of a Pakistan-based organization Tanzeem-e-Islami. 92 Tanzeem-e-Islami (TI) is an off-shoot of Jamaat-e-Islami (Pakistan) founded by Dr. Israr Ahmed. Jamaat-e-Islami got into domestic politics from 1957 onwards leading to disagreements between the group and Israr Ahmed. 93 Subsequently, he formed his group Tanzeem-e-Islami in 1975. 94 Israr Ahmed has often been caught spreading rumors in the Muslim world including a rumor blaming Israel behind the 9/11 attacks in the US. 95
Another key website recommended on IndianMuslims.Info for Muslims was of Islamic Research Foundation (Irf.net). IRF was a Mumbai-based charitable trust founded in February 1991 by Zakir Abdul Karim Naik, commonly known as Zakir Naik, a wanted man in India who fled the country in 2016. He was named by security agencies in a case for funding and plotting with Popular Front of India (PFI) elements to carry out terror attacks/ bomb blasts across parts of India ahead of January 26, 2021. 96
Incidentally, Kashif is a staunch sympathizer of Zakir Nair and his organization IRF. Kashif’s cousin Mohammad Ali Amir is close to Zakir Naik. 97
TCN in India
Kashif launched a news portal in 2006-07, as the successor to the IndianMuslims.info website and as a part of the Urdustan network. 98 The motive behind creating TCN was to cover the news from marginalized sections of India with a primary focus on the Indian Muslims, and the problems faced by them.
While the TCN was operating through its website from 2006-07 onwards, it was registered as an entity on September 24, 2009, in Hyderabad, India as TCN Media Pvt. Ltd. 99 One of the directors of the company was Mohammad Aaris and Irfan Aziz was Kashif’s brother Majaz Hoda. 100
The managing editor of the platform was Kashif Huda, while the news editor of the portal was Mumtaz Alam Falahi. During the first phase, when TCN was in India, it was also run by the family members of Kashif. The business director at that time was Majaz Hoda, and Kashif’s brother-in-law Nehal Hassan served as the business manager. 101
TCN launched its awards in 2010 and invited Salman Khurshid, the then Union Minister for Minority Affairs, and K Rahman Khan, Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha. The function was also attended by Irfan Azeez, a political activist from Hyderabad, Navaid Hamid, a member of, the National Integration Council (NIC), Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan, editor, Milli Gazette prominent many others.
Chapter 9: Two Circles goes to the US
As noted earlier, Two Circles was registered as TCN Media Private Limited in Hyderabad, India in 2009.
In July 2012, Assam witnessed civil riots; the violence that shook the north-east region. Subsequently, on August 19, 2012, the Ministry of Communication & IT of the Government of India issued banned several websites/ videos/ Social media pages that triggered panic over the north-east riots at that time. The Indian government stated that several Pakistan websites of spreading false rumors and pictures to instigate a communal rift in India. 102
Two of TCN’s web pages were among the list of webpages/ websites banned by the Government of India to curb the communal hatred posted online. 103 However, both the webpages of TCN were not related to the Assam violence. 104 TCN sought to take legal action against the Indian government. 105 Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), Indian Muslim Relief and Charities (IMRC), and the American Federation of Muslims of Indian Origin (AFMI) released a joint statement in support of TCN and asked the Indian government to revoke the decision of blocking webpages of TCN. 106
TCN gets registered in the US
In a peculiar move, the entity was shut down on September 30, 2013, in India, 107 and two months later, the same entity was registered in Massachusetts, the USA by the name, Two Circles, INC, on December 26, 2013. 108
Two key names associated with TCN were Rizwan Manzer, a physician-scientist in drug development who currently lives in Boston and Treasurer of Two Circles since 2015; and Vinay Bhat, former Director of Two Circles (from 2010-13). Bhatt hails from Mumbai and graduated from Cornell University, currently living in San Francisco, California. 109 He is married to a Chinese national Kristie Angel Chan, who belongs to the Chinese Progressive Association. 110
Paul Malachi Penchalapadu- Paul Malachi is from the Telangana region of India and is currently a resident of Massachusetts. He is interested in public health and works as an analyst in a Boston area hospital. He volunteers with South Asian community organizations in the area including the Association for India’s Development. He resigned from the board in 2019. 111 Apart from his stint with Two Circles, Paul Malachi is also the Treasurer of the Indian Community Church (ICC). 112 Indian Community Church (ICC) is a Massachusetts-based group that claims to carry out missionary activities by targeting people of different faith in Boston and nearby areas. 113 Its founder, Suresh Sammangi was a practicing Hindu before he converted to Christianity in the early 2000s. 114
Suresh Sammangi is also associated with another missionary- the North American Mission Board (NAMB), which is North America’s largest missionary. 115 NAMB has several associated partners that operate in India including the International Mission Board (IMB), which propagates the teachings of Christianity. They work in several regions globally such as Central Asia, South Asia, Africa, Europe, and the USA.
TCN- A tool of narrative setting
When TCN was formed in 2007, its objective was to cater to and promote the interests of the marginalized sections of India. 116 However, the portal shifted to the US in 2013. And from 2014 onwards, its website gets revamped with updated categories. 117 Categories of Dalits, Tribals, and women were added in 2014, followed by adding ‘Lynching’ category from 2017 onwards. 118
While these efforts by TCN to cover the most marginalized sections of India were commendable, the website once looked carefully revealed its biased nature of reporting.
Although TCN covers news pertaining to the Dalits, Adivasis, women, and Muslims, it has been selective in feeding the news to its audience. If a crime involves two marginalized communities, TCN doesn’t cover it. And coming to the women section of their website, which covers stories about women of India, too was found to have selective picking of the news.
If one is to understand how and why TCN practices selective journalism, he/ she has to understand the ecosystem the portal is part of. Two Circles during its initial years of formation were being roped in among the US Jamaat and Islamist circles. On December 11, 2010, IAMC held its annual fundraising dinner at the Paradise Indian Cuisine in Baltimore. In the event, it was revealed that IAMC was sponsoring TCN for its work of covering the issues of the minorities of India. 119
TCN doesn’t work independently but works cohesively with certain organizations in the US such as IAMC and EL, and it functions to provide media space and relevance to these entities and in turn help in promulgating narratives set by them.
One of the examples is how Kashif and TCN members Vinay Bhatt and Valli Karunakaran alias Maari Zwick Maitreyi (EL member) were instrumental in the drafting of the 2018 Caste report of the Equality Labs. And how TCN helped mainstream Equality Labs by promoting the latter via its platform on numerous occasions to help nourish the caste line narrative in India and globally. 120 121 122 123
How much TCN is inclined toward IAMC can be understood by how the portal promotes the latter via its platform. From covering name change news of IAMC from IMC-USA to reporting the change in leadership of IAMC, to even echoing narratives called out by IAMC via its platform. 124 125 126 127 TCN has been active in giving validations and relevance to IAMC and its motives through its platforms.
A short recap of the Disinfo Lab reports would explain how IAMC on several instances had/ has been trying to target India, and how its founder worked hand in hand with the Pak-Jamaat subsidiaries in the US to lobby against India and get the country sanctioned by infiltrating the United States Commission of International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) in 2013-14 and 2018-20.
To learn more details about IAMC and its activities, refer to our report, “USCIRF: An Organization of Particular Concern”.
Chapter 10: Kashif and the US Jamaat circuit
Not just IAMC was sponsoring TCN in its early days of formation, but both Kashif and his wife Zainab have been active members of the Boston chapter of IAMC (which supposedly is inactive). 129 They held on-ground protests and even attended ICNA conventions as representatives of the IAMC Boston chapter.
Huda family links with the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center
The Huda family lives in Boston and visits the local Islamic Society of Boston Mosque (ISB Cambridge) & Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC). ISBCC is run by the Muslim American Society (MAS), which in turn was founded by the US Muslim Brotherhood in 1993. MAS later merged with the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), the US wing of Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) in 2000. 130
However, the Boston Mosque has been known to have been attended by several people who have been investigated for terrorism and extremism. While its sister mosque Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC) also has its history of supporting extremists. Both the mosques are owned by the same entity Islamic Society of Boston (ISB) but are run separately. 131 There have been several instances when both the mosques have been under federal investigation.
On April 15, 2013, a bomb blast took place during a marathon in Boston that killed three people and injured 264 civilians. The malefactors who carried out the bomb blasts, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev attended the Cambridge Mosque. The Mosques’ radical and extremist links are repeatedly documented. 132
Besides, the Huda family also maintains an affable relationship with the ISBCC Imam Suhaib Webb. 133 134 Suhaib Webb is an American citizen, who earlier went by the name Willie Webb before he converted to Islam. He became the Imam of ISBCC in October 2011. 135 He also has a past of radical links including having a connection with the Al-Qaeda operative Anwar al-Awlaki. Anwar al-Awlaki was a Yemen-American Imam and a regional commander of al-Qaeda. He was killed in 2011 in a drone strike carried out by the US. Suhaib Webb appeared alongside Awlaki in public to raise 100,000 USD to defend Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (H Rap Brown), who shot and killed two Georgia police officers and was convicted of life imprisonment. 136 Additionally, Suhaib Webb has been seen frequenting the spaces of ICNA and CAIR in their events. 137
Chapter 11: Kashif’s other key ventures
Kashif apart from his news portal venture also set up at least two companies in the US in 2020. Both the ventures were varied, one into media and software and the other into real estate and financing. However, the peculiar thing about both these entities was the lack of concrete information available about their business presence, operations, and finances. The first is A Biel Company, which is a Media and Software- Phone apps development, marketing, and production company. 138 Kashif registered the entity as a key proprietor. A Biel Company last filed the annual return in 2021, however it lacked any sort of concrete data or finances that could depict the scale of its business. 139 The other venture is Cambridge Somerville Asset Management Group LLC Investment IN. The organization was founded on May 29, 2020, by Kashif Ul Huda, Dolly Arjun, and Kavita Sukerkar.
Dolly Asha Arjun is a Dalit-American activist and Indian-American physician assistant in Boston. 140 She is currently working at UMass Memorial Hospital, Massachusetts. 141 She is the founder of Adavi Myah a collective art formed in 2019 led by Bahujans and Dalits to fight for their rights in the US. 142
Kavita Sukerkar is a volunteer with Association for India’s Development (AID). Founded in 1991, AID is a volunteer movement promoting sustainable, equitable, and just development. 143 Kavita is associated with the Boston (US) chapter of AID. 144 145
Part III: Dalitstan- White People’s Burden
Chapter 12: Dalitstan
One of the key platforms that were widely promoted among others, by IndianMuslims.info was Dalitstan, which was essentially a secessionist project targeting India across its various fault-lines such as Khalistan, Kashmir, and Dravidstan among others. These are some fault lines envisaged under Pak Establishment’s Op Tupac and are being run through various fronts on each-fault line. This is also exactly what Kashif Ul Huda also seeks and propagates about breaking India into many other nations. 146
Founders of Dalitstan:
But the story of Dalitstan is most interesting, as caste remains the most sensitive fault-lines. Dalitstan was launched in 1999 by some US-based individuals who advocated for the secession of India into several separate nations including a Dalit homeland. 147 Dalitstan is also very interesting because it provides a unique example of collusion between Christian missionaries and Jamaat-e-Islami to carve their share from India. Another similar instance is found in the ‘Dismantling Hindutva’ project where individuals such as Audrey Truchske appear to be at a crucial junction of the Jamaat-Missionary project, targeting India through its various fault lines.
It was peculiar that the Dalitstan website contained all the secession links for India, but its founders were all Church-going Whites from the US. The founders of Dalitstan are as follows:
- Kermit Northcutt
- Debra Schwartz
- George Schwartz
- Helen Eklund
- Andy Moore
The website for the Dalitstan project was registered by Helen Eklund who was serving as its President. Other key members comprised Kermit Northcutt, George Schwartz, and Debra Schwartz. Dalitstan’s President, Kermit Northcutt is a devout Christian. He is a member of Antioch Christian Academy and is regularly seen there. Antioch Christian Academy comes under Antioch Network, which was founded in 1987 as an international multicultural fellowship that spans the globe, and runs its missionary in the US. 148 Antioch Christian Academy is a ministry of the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church of Lucedale, MS. ACA is a private Christian school and was established on June 14, 2008. 149 The founder of Antioch Network is George Miley. 150 Incidentally, George Miley is also on the advisory board member of Dalit Freedom Network (DFN) the US branch of the All-India Christian Council (AICC). 151 (Elaborated in subsequent chapters).
Food for Thought:
None of the members of this so-called Dalit Project had ever been to India or had to do anything with India. Who and why was interested in targeting India’s geographical integrity, who also had the capabilities to rope in Christian Missionaries and Jamaat-e-Islami?
Chapter 13: Searching Foot soldiers- Dalit Voice
In a bid to rope in vocal Dalit voices from India, Dalitstan website owners contacted prominent Dalit faces from India. One of the key faces contacted by Dalitstan for contributing to its website was VT Rajshekar. A letter written by the Helen Eklund, one of the founders of Dalitstan website mentioned contacting VT Rajshekar to republish the contents of his then offline magazine ‘Dalit Voice’ (based in Bangalore) on their website. 152 The communication was facilitated by Dr. Jamanadas Khobragade, a devoted Ambedkarite, writer, and author which led to the republication of Dalit Voice articles on the Dalitstan website.
Vontibettu Thimmappa Rajshekar Shetty (a.k.a VT Rajshekar) is an Indian journalist and activist, and also the founder of the magazine Dalit Voice. Rajsekar worked at Indian Express for 25 years, before parting ways and starting his own magazine Dalit Voice (now defunct) in 1981. 153 He was a suitable choice and was known in circles for his anti-India views. In 1986 Rajasekar’s passport was confiscated because of his controversial writing works from outside India. He was arrested in the same year under the Terrorism and Anti-Disruptive Activities Act (TADA). And later on, he was again arrested under the Sedition Act under the Indian Penal Code. 154
In 2004, the website of Dalit Voice was launched at Bangalore Press Club on September 12, 2004. 155 Furthermore, Rajshekar also founded a publishing company Dalit Sahitya Akademy. 156 It was in 2004 when Dalit Voice’s articles also began to be published online in the form of newsletters. The articles of DV were republished on a website, InformationTimes.com from January 2004 onwards. 157 Information Times was an independent newspaper and newsletter publisher founded by a Pakistani national and Washington-based journalist Syed Adeeb, who also has several media fronts. He is the Chief Editor of the Information Times, CEO of InfoTimes Network, Director of Free Press Network, and Producer-Editor of InfoTimes TV. In addition, Adeeb has been caught spreading conspiracy theories via his portals. In 2001, Adeeb seeded a conspiracy about the 9/11 attacks, which later was highlighted by various portals that the claims in the conspiracy were unsubstantiated.
He also espouses ISI’s propaganda on Kashmir, and regularly promotes the convicted ISI-mole Ghulam Nabi Fai’s activities against the Indian Embassies in the US.
Syed Adeeb has also written for several news portals including Dalit Voice.
In 2005, VT Rajshekar was conferred with “International Award 2005″ for his book ‘Dalit – the Black Untouchables of India’ by a London-based organization – London Institute of South Asia (LISA). 160 LISA specializes in affairs related to the South Asian nations and claims to have no links with any government or any political party, however, it was founded and run by the Pak army members, diplomats, and ISI officials. 161
Chapter 14: London Institute of South Asia (LISA) UK
London Institute of South Asia (LISA) is a not-for-profit organization specializing in the affairs of South Asia nations. LISA was incorporated as a Charitable Incorporated Organization (CIO) on August 5, 2016, in the United Kingdom (UK). 162
However, this London-based front is yet another front like the London Story, which is essentially a Pak establishment front, was set up by a former Pakistani diplomat and journalists and has been run by the ISI & retired Pak Army officials. To remove any doubts, LISA’s esteemed list of contributors includes ISI mole Ghulam Nabi Fai and former retired diplomats from Pakistan. To remove any further doubts that it was a Pakistani project, one of LISA’s stated aims was “to represent South Asia’s many people whose voice has been throttled by India.” 163 Since then, LISA continues to be the cradle for faces that have been critical of India.
Although LISA was registered as an entity in 2016, it had been operating since 2005. 164 LISA was registered by Saeed Ismat, a Pakistani diplomat who served as Pakistani Ambassador to Azerbaijan from January 1993 to November 1994. Saeed Ismat possesses a 27-year-long experience of serving in the Pakistan military (from 1965-92) before venturing into LISA. He is currently the director of the organization. 165 Other key faces associated with LISA are Dr. Shahid Ahmed Qureshi and Dr. Salma Bano.
Shahid Sultan Ahmed Qureshi (late) had a vast experience in journalism. He resided in London and had formerly worked as a Senior Political Analyst at BBC News. Furthermore, he also served as the Chief Editor of ‘The London Post’ Al-Jazeera, Press TV, MBC, Kazak TV (Kazakhstan), and LBC Radio London. He passed at the age of 56, in February 2022. 166 167
LISA UK Launching Book
In 2005, LISA published its first-ever book Authentic Voices of South Asia” as an impetus to formally launch as an organization in London. 168 The book had several writers who contributed to its chapters and were also listed as key members of the then, newly-formed entity. The members comprised former ISI officials, Dalit activists (VT Rajshekar), pro-Khalistani separatists, and Pakistani nationals. 169
A. Brigadier (retd.) Usman Khalid
Brigadier Usman Khalid (late) was a Pakistani military general who served in the Pakistani army for 25 years. He is known to be one of the founding fathers of LISA UK. 170 Usman Khalid played the role of an informer to the CIA about the whereabouts of the most wanted Al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin in exchange for USD 25 million and US citizenship for himself and his family. 171 He passed away at the age of 79 in 2014 after succumbing to cancer. 172
B. Dr. Awtar Singh Sekhon
Dr. Awtar Singh Sekhon is the Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Sikh Affairs since June 1965. 173 Dr. Sekhon had been the Director, Human Rights Wing, Council of Khalistan, Washington DC, and an Advisor of Foreign Affairs, Dal Khalsa Alliance of the United States. He advocates for the right to self-determination of states like Jammu & Kashmir state from India. 174 He has also ‘authored’ several books supporting the cause of the Sikh cause, including supporting the Khalistani ideologue and its figure Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. 175
C. Syed M Inayatullah Andrabi
Dr. Syed Inayatullah Andrabi, the self-exiled leader of Mahaz-e-Islamic and former chief of Jamiat-e-Talaba (student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami). Inayatullah Andrabi is the brother and ideological mentor of the hardliner Dukhtaran-e-Millat (banned) founder Asiya Andrabi. 176 Asiya Andrabi was arrested by India’s National Investigation Agency in July 2018 along with her two aides Sofi Fehmeeda and Naheeda for ‘waging war against India’. She is currently in jail for her activities and supporting militancy in Kashmir. 177
Other key co-authors/members of LISA in its early days of formation were VT Rajshekar, Dr. Gurmit Singh Aulakh (Khalistani), Sami Malik (Director LISA), Abidullah Jan (Canada-based Pakistani journalist), Dr. M Abdul Mumin Chowdhury, and former APHC chairman Syed Ali Geelani (late).
One of the recent members of LISA UK has been Mary Flora Hunter, Postgraduate Research Fellow at the Centre for Army Leadership who formerly worked at LISA as a Researcher. 178 Besides, she has also been the moderator of LISA’s events. 179 She has also represented LISA in working with the Pak-backed organization, Tehreek-e-Kashmir UK (TeK UK). On February 24, 2021, Mary Hunter attended a webinar conference on Kashmiri Women’s Resistance Day. Some of the key individuals at the online conference included former Senator of Australia, Lee Rhianon, Turgay Evren, Fahim Kayani (Tehreek-e-Kashmir UK founder), and Farhan Mujahid Chak (founder- of Kashmir Civitas). 180
This was not the first time Mary Hunter was interacting with the same group. In December 2021, Mary attended the Russell Tribunal on Kashmir (RToK) event in Sarajevo which was co-organized by Kashmir Civitas along with the Muslim Brotherhood and Pakistan. 181 182 Expect Mary to be the next White Activist on Kashmir and other stories.
Contributors at LISA:
|1.||Ghulam Nabi Fai||A convicted ISI agent was arrested in 2011 for receiving USD 3.5mn from the ISI between 1990-2009 for pursuing lobbying on Kashmir. He remains the fulcrum of key activities in Kashmir propelled by Pakistan.|
|2.||Hammad Sarfraz||Pakistan-based journalist and worked for ‘The Express Tribune’ as National Desk head (2013-16). Also worked as an Editorial consultant for China’s news portal ‘China’s Daily’ (2016). 183|
|3.||Dr. Iqtidar Cheema||Member of the United Nations Global Steering Committee. Also served as a consultant to the USCIRF between 2016-17. 184 Writes on Khalistan and seeks the formation of Khalistan under the UN charter. 185|
|4.||Nayeema Ahmed Mahjoor||Nayeema Ahmad mahjoor is a UK-based senior journalist, and ex-news editor in BBC and Penguin India author. Currently working as a columnist at Independent Urdu. 186|
|5.||Ikram Ul Majeed Sehgal||Pakistani defense analyst and security expert. He is a retired Pakistan Army officer. He became a prisoner of war in 1971 while serving in East Pakistan. He was the first Pakistani prisoner of war (PoW) to escape from the Indian PoW camp. 187 Senior Adviser, Director, and Member Advisory Committee on CPEC Projects of the National Institute of Strategic Communication (NISC), Peking University, China. 188|
|6.||Rishikesh Kumar||A New Delhi-based journalist specializing in the Indo-Pacific region. Currently the Senior Editor of Sputnik International (India Desk). 189|
|7.||Saad Rasool||Lahore-based Lawyer and author at The Global Village Space and Pakistan’s ‘The Nation.’ 190 191|
|8.||Islamuddin Sajid||Islamabad-based journalist currently working as Regional Chief Correspondent at Anadolu Agency for Asia-pacific. Also worked for TRT World as Deputy News Editor in Istanbul and also worked as a correspondent of ‘Voice of America and Bureau Chief of ‘Capital TV’. 192|
|9.||Sarwan Ram Darapuri (ex-IPS)||Indian social activist, politician, and ex-IPS officer. He is the National Secretary and the Spokesman of the All-India People’s Front (Radical). 193|
|11.||Pepe Escobar||Brazilian journalist and geopolitical analyst. He was one of the attendees of the Russell Tribunal on Kashmir (RToK) that was held in December 2021, in Sarajevo. 194|
|12.||Germán Gorraiz López||A Political analyst who writes on economic and geopolitical issues for various publications in the US and UK.|
|13.||Rana Ayyub||Eminent Indian Journalist|
|14.||Barkha Dutt||Eminent Indian Journalist|
|15.||MK Bhadrakumar||Former Diplomat|
Chapter 15: Dalitstan Purpose- Breaking India
So far, we saw how VT Rajshekar’s Dalt Voice was roped in by Dalitstan in its early years of formation. Dalitstan claimed to be a human rights organization working for the cause of Dalits and black untouchables of India and advocating for them with any ‘non-violent means’, among several such objectives mentioned on its website. 195 196 However, what it did not mention was how it envisaged the entities and websites that sought a fragmentation of India into several states/ nations.
Dissecting the ‘Secessionist sites’ page of Dalitstan, the page not only promoted the rebel groups but also sold the idea of separate Indian states such as ‘Marathastan’; ‘Free Gujarat’, ‘Separate Tripura’; ‘Assam Independence’; & ‘Manipuri Independence’. At the same time, they also cast the idea of how the Indian occupation had occupied these territories by force.
Some of the separatist groups echoed by Dalitstan were the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), Tripura People’s Democratic Front (TPDF)- the political wing of the banned group All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF), and Rajputana Liberation Front among other such groups. 198
Among those were four major yet bigger plans by cutting out a larger portion of Indian land and dividing the Indian territory which is as follows: Kashmir, Khalistan, Mughalastan, and Islamestan.
Kashmir is one of the oldest and most delicate fault lines in India. Having said that, it was a natural inclusion in the secession plan of India. The websites endorsed for Kashmir on the Dalitstan website were either being run from the United Kingdom (UK) or Pakistan and the content posted on them was Pakistan’s typescript on the Kashmir agenda. 199
Likewise, the website referred to a list of go-to internet resources on Kashmir. The list of websites/ entities/ individuals mentioned in the list included Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) the UK, JKLF (Kashmir), Ghulam Nabi Fai (Kashmir American Council), Kashmir Canadian Council (KCC), World Kashmir Freedom Movement (WKFM). 200
It was the time when Ghulam Nabi Fai and Mohammed Ayyub Thakur were proactively working as ISI operatives from the US and UK respectively.
Another key secessionist website was being run from Pakistan: Jihad-e-Kashmir (www.jihad-e-kashmir.org.pk). Jihad-e-Kashmir was a publishing house that published and circulated monthly children’s magazine MUJAHID and books written on ‘Independence struggle going on in Kashmir’. 201 The company and website were being operated from Address- Al-Ikram Building, Muree Chowk, Muree Road, Rawalpindi, Pakistan. 202
Al-Ikram building is the hub of radical groups that embark on the mission of denting India. One such group that operates from the Al Ikram building is Al-Badr, a terror outfit based in Pakistan. 203 Al Badr is one of the member organizations of UJC. Al Badr was formed in 1998 to liberate Kashmir from India and its merger with Pakistan. Al Badr has been behind numerous terrorist attacks in India including the Pulwama attack in 2018. 204
The Pakistani propaganda on Kashmir was referred to on Dalitstan not just once but in several instances. The idea was to spread the Pakistani narrative on Kashmir and it was then, that the role of the US-Jamaat came into play. The books section on Kashmir on Dalitstan secessionist page referred to a new website ‘Sound Vision’. 205
As elaborated in “The Longest War- Operation Tupac”, Sound Vision and its advocacy wing Justice For All (JFA) are the key Jamaat organization that operates on not one but several fault lines of India. Sound Vision was founded by the US-Jamaat arm Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) in 1988 as its multimedia wing to promote “Islamic teachings in the United States and Canada.” 206 The founder of Sound Vision, i.e., Abdul Malik Mujahid is a Pakistani national who served as the head of Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba, the oldest student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami (Pakistan), between October 1975 and September 1977. He later went on to head the ICNA in the 1980-90s.
Sound Vision through its website took the Pakistani stance and demonized the Indian occupation in Kashmir while ignoring the cross-border terrorism and militancy sponsored by Pakistan in Kashmir. 207 Likewise, it is also to be noted that Sound Vision’s advocacy group-Justice For All (JFA), which currently strives by targeting Indian fault lines, was also peddling the Pakistani toolkit and organizations on Kashmir. 208
Among many other pro-Pakistani groups in Kashmir, was Pakistan Students Association International (PSAI), a students’ lobbying group which via forming a committee- the External Relations Committee (ERC) lobbied for promoting the interests of Pakistan abroad. One of the founding members of PSAI was Omar Khalid, a mechanical engineer who completed his education in Lahore and then from Middle East Technical University (METU), Turkey. 209 His website, ‘Paradise on Fire’ was one of the key websites endorsed by Dalitstan for Kashmir secession. 210
Omar Khalid played a crucial role in campaigning for Pakistan and on Kashmir against India abroad, the toolkit of which was being sent by the Pakistan Embassy in Washington DC via postal mail to PSAI-ERC members. 211
Khalistan movement is a separatist movement concocted by the ISI with Dr. Jagjit Singh Chauhan in 1971. The Khalistan movement sought a separate sovereign state for Sikhs cut out from various states of North India. From time to time, ISI has attempted to revive the Khalistan movement to cause unrest in India. Dalitstan endorsed several organizations and websites active in the Khalistan secession movement such as Babbar Khalsa International and the Council of Khalistan. 212 213 Formed in 1978, Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) was one of the most violent Khalistani groups behind several militant insurgencies including the 1985 Air India flight bomb blast that killed 329 civilians. 214 BKI is one of the many militant groups banned by the government of India under section 35 of the UNLAWFUL ACTIVITIES (PREVENTION) ACT, 1967. 215
Another key website listed & promoted as a part of Dalitstan’s secessionism plan was ‘Council of Khalistan’. The Council of Khalistan is an ethnic organization that sought a separate land of Khalistan from various states of India. The organization was set up by Dr. Gurmit Singh Aulakh, who was a research scientist based in the US. He was declared the President of the Council of Khalistan in 1986. Gurmit Singh Aulakh lobbied the US politicians for targeting India and also for the separate land of Khalistan. 216 Aulakh was among the 169 names that were blacklisted by the Government of India for their anti-India operations including militancy. 217
Aulakh’s ‘Council of Khalistan’ website too got technical assistance from the conspiracy theorist Syed Adeeb, who helped in backlinking, and promoting the former’s website through his InformationTimes.
The purpose behind the Mughalastan website was to impart the idea of the creation of Mughalastan among the South Asian Muslims with the following objectives:
- Self Determination & Decline of the Indian union
- 300 million Muslims already lived on the land proclaimed by the creators of the Mughalastan website.
- Restoration of the Caliphate & Revival of Civilization
- Pan Islamism
- Historical Justice
Mughalastan was one of the comprehensive plans to seize and break and cause the second partition of India. To go about the plan, a map of India was created with the portion of North India spanning to Eastern states and Bangladesh as part of Mughalastan. The map was created by the Mughalastan Research Institute (MRI), of Jahangir Nagar University (Bangladesh) under the patronage of two intelligence agencies, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Bangladesh’s Director General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI). 218 Bangladesh National Party Chairperson Khalida Zia along with the ISI operatives in Bangladesh was also behind the planning of Mughalastan. 219 220
Hezb-e-Mughalastan was a Pak-based party dedicated to the liberation of Mughalastan. However, the idea of Mughlastan has been denounced and deemed as a creation of fiction.
One More Toolkit: Mughalastan –
A toolkit was designed for the cause and propagation of the idea of the Mughalastan movement. 222 The toolkit contained the guidelines, if unleashed could prove effective in running online campaigns, protests, writing to politicians, and many other ways to pursue the agenda against the Indian state.
Some of them included:
- Writing to Politicians
- Lobbying the politicians
- Forum discussions of various news platforms
- Mass Emailing
- Anonymous Posting
- Impersonation of identities (impersonating a Dalit Sena member, a Tamil separatist, a Bengali secessionist, etc.,)
Apart from the toolkit, the website of Mughalastan also glorified Al-Qaeda Chief, Osama bin Laden and Jaish-e-Mohammad leader Masood Azhar who called waging war against India. 223 224 Jihad-e-Mughalastan was one the key proponent of the Mughalastan movement. It aimed to aim wage war to restore the Mughal caliphate. For that, the website promoted various militant groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), and United Jihad Council (UJC). 225
United Jihad Council/ Muttahida Jihad Council (MJC) is an offensive Islamist umbrella group formed by the Pakistani Army and comprising several militant terror groups including Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Hizbul Mujahideen, and Al-Badr, among several such groups. 226 UJC was formed in 1994 under the aegis of Manzur Shah, leader of the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen as a part of Pakistan’s Operation Tupac. 227
As of May 2019, UJC was headed by Hizbul Mujahideen leader Syed Salahuddin. 228 In March 2022, India’s National Investigative Agency (NIA) ordered framing charges against Syed Salahuddin among others under various sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) including criminal conspiracy, waging war against the country, and carrying out terror activities in Jammu & Kashmir. 229
UJC has claimed responsibility for several attacks in India. In 2016, UJC claimed responsibility for carrying out the Pathankot Airbase attack that saw seven security personnel and five militants dead. 230 On August 8, 2021, the NIA raided 14 districts in Jammu & Kashmir including the premises of the banned Jamaat-e-Islami J&K. It was reported at that time that Jamaat-e-Islami, J&K was intrinsically linked with the United Jihad Council (UJC). 231
UJC and United States of Islam
One of the aims of the UJC was to work on a 100-year plan of creating a new world order by creating the United States of Islam (USI). The website to guide the formation of USI was being run from Pakistan. 232 The other objective of UJC was to form a confederation of all the Islamic countries in the world on the grounds of trade, commerce, economics, foreign policy, defense, and security issues. 233
To pursue the cause, a plan was also formulated which included upgrading the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) to the Organization of Islamic Unity (OIU), followed by creating a Muslim Parliament or General Assembly of the Islamic nations. 234
Supporters of Shariah
Another key entity part of the Mughalastan project against India was the ‘Supporters of Shariah’, purported as a jihad organization based in the Pakistani part of Mughalastan. 235 Supporters of Shariah (SOS) was formed in 1994 by Abu Hamza al-Masri (who went by various alias such as Abu Hamza aka Mostafa Kamel Mostafa aka Mustafa Kamel), an Egyptian cleric and former Imam of Finsbury Park Mosque, London. 236 The office of SOS was also located at the same address i.e., at the Finsbury Park Mosque. 237 He has a history of inciting violence of hatred and supporting terrorism in the US and the UK. 238 While Hamza promoted the ideology and cause of Al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden, his website SOS published the speeches of the latter. 239
In an interview in 2002, Abu Hamza heaped praise on Al Qaeda for carrying out the 9/11 attack. 240 In 2004 he was arrested by the British Police after the US proved that Hamza was part of the conspiracy and he knowingly provided material support to Al Qaeda. 241 He was again convicted in 2014 after 11 terrorism charges were levied on him for enabling hostage-takers in the Yemen kidnapping to speak on a satellite phone, sending men to establish an al-Qaida training camp in Bly, Oregon, and sending at least one man to training camps in Afghanistan. 242 Subsequently, he was imprisoned for life in January 2015 after pleading guilty to all the charges. 243
A section of Dalistan promoted several organizations and individuals that were active on the Kashmir line from different countries. 244 245 246 Some of the names included Muzzammil Ayyub Thakur, Hafsa Kanjwal, Majid Rasool Butt, and Yusuf Fazili among others who are working on the Kashmir conflict from the US/UK.
We noted earlier in “Kashmir: A Conflict Industry” how the likes of Hafsa Kanjwal and Muzzammil Ayyub Thakur were being groomed to become carry the baton of the Kashmir conflict. 247 Since her early 20s, Hafsa Kanjwal was being groomed by the ISI and Pakistan embassy eco-system. She was directly groomed by the ISI convict Ghulam Nabi Fai and also by the Pakistani Embassy in Washington. 249 249
Dalitstan Secessionist Links:
Chapter 16: John Dayal and United Christian Forum
Dalitstan’s website has a section dedicated to Christians and once clicked on the ‘Christians’ section, redirected to the website of ‘United Christian Forum for Human Rights (UCFHR)’. UCFHR is a New Delhi-based NGO founded by Alan Basil de Lastic, the former Archbishop of Delhi. A key individual who was instrumental in the formation of UCFHR is John Dayal , a Christian activist, journalist, and author. John is the Editor and CEO of the afternoon newspaper Delhi Mid-Day and has been the Treasurer of the Editor’s Guild of India. 250 He is also the national convener of UCFHR. 251
Additionally, John is also the Secretary-General of the All-India Christian Council (AICC), a nationwide alliance of Christian organizations, institutions, and federations formed in 1998. 252 AICC also has a US arm in the form of Dalit Freedom Network (DFN) which grew out of the former to expand its work for the Dalit cause in the US. 253
John Dayal and his US network
John Dayal also manages a network of his own in the US. John Dayal was once on the advisory board of a US-based organization Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations of North America (FIACONA). FIACONA is one of the ally organizations of JFA and IAMC and co-organizes congressional briefings with them.
Apart from that, John’s AICC has been able to interact with and influence the former US Congressman of the Republican party, Joseph Russell Pitts. A four-member delegation of the US Congressmen visited Gujarat on January 9, 2004. The India tour of the delegation was organized by John Dayal’s organization AICC. The leader of the delegation during the tour was Joseph Pitts who emphasized reporting about the anti-conversion laws in India and the situation of Dalits and minorities in India. 254
Full Circle: From Dalistan to Kashmir – Joe Pitts
The same four-member delegation had also visited Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir two days ago i.e., on January 7, 2004, and called for the resolution of the longstanding Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan. 255 Joe Pitts is known to be a pro-Pak voice on Capitol Hill and has been instrumental in calling out for a resolution on Kashmir on behalf of Pakistan. In 2004, Pitts received contributions from two ISI agents for his election campaign for the fifth term in the House. 256 According to the Federal Election Commission, Friends of Joe Pitts received funds from the convicted ISI-mole Ghulam Nabi Fai and his straw donor Zaheer Ahmad. 257 In October 2004, Pitts introduced a resolution calling for a peaceful resolution to the Kashmir conflict that further sought the US government’s involvement in the matter. 258
John Dayal and Human Rights Commission
John Dayal and Joe Pitts continued to work together in 2014. On April 4, 2014, Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission organized a hearing on the rights and freedoms of religious minorities in India. The hearing was organized ahead of India’s general elections and co-hosted by Joe Pitts. 259 Key witnesses who led the charge in the hearing comprised former USCIRF Vice Chair Katrina Lantos Swett, John Sifton from Human Rights Watch (regularly seen on the IAMC platform), and Robin Phillips, Executive Director of Advocates for Human Rights. During the forum, Dayal asked the US congress to take cognizance of the persecution of religious minorities in India. 260 261 One of the key organizations to have welcomed the panel hearing was the Coalition Against Genocide (CAG), which was co-founded by IAMC founder Shaik Ubaid & Angana Chatterji (a close associate of ISI-mole Ghulam Nabi Fai). 262
Incidentally, Joe Pitts was in tandem with CAG and even appeared publicly with the organization on December 5, 2012. 263
Chapter 17: Dalitstan Redux
Looking at the secessionist links page of the Dalitstan website, one could understand how big the plot must be to divide India into different fragments by invoking separatist movements and even listing toolkits. However, its separatism agenda was put to a halt by the government of India within a few years of its existence. Dalitstan website was among the 18 websites that were banned by the Department of Information Technology following the July 11, 2006, Mumbai train bombings in a bid to check the terror and hate messages. 264 It was after the Government of India banned the Dalitstan website, that several organizations on the Dalit line mushroomed in the US. One of the key entities identified is Bhajan Singh Bhinder’s OFMI. OFMI was formed by the Khalistani ISI operative Bhajan Singh Bhinder and his lackey Pieter Friedrich in 2006-07, purportedly for the cause of the Indian minorities including Dalits. 265 The organization was shut down after it was exposed by an OSINT Lab!
Ambedkar Association of North America (AANA)
Another organization on the Dalit line that popped in the US on June 5, 2008, was the Ambedkar Association of North America (AANA). As per its website, 266 AANA aims to uplift the lives of people who belong to the underprivileged castes in India and educate them about it in the US and Canada. 267 One of the former presidents of AANA has been Thenmozhi Soundarajan, before forming Equality Labs in 2016. 268
Dalitnation: Dalistan Re-Born
A decade later after the formation of Dalitstan, and its subsequent ban in India, a new website pops up with the name Dalitnation with its domain registered on September 27, 2011. 270 Dalitnation began as the transmedia and blog site of the ‘Dalit History Month’ project which was later launched under the banner of Equality Labs. Dalitnation was essentially the English play on the previous organization. Dalitstan website’s older versions had already hinted at becoming Dalitnation. 271 However, it later remained Dalitstan until the website was blocked in India in 2006.
As per one of the old archives of the website, Dalitnation was the blog of Thenmozhi Soundarajan. And the people associated with it were EL’s Research Director Maari Zwick Maitrey alias Valli Karunakaran, Christian Dalit activist Christina Dhanraj, Aruna Sanghapali, and Human rights lawyer, Manisha Mashaal. 272
It’s a full circle
The same set of network operates in a full circle. Same faces that promoted Dalitstan back in early 2000s were operating through web portals. Jamnadas Khobragade, who facilitated the communication between Dalitstan founder Helen Eklund and VT Rajshekar was a bridge for Dalit movement in India.
Presently, his daughter-in-law, Sangeeta Khobragade is associated with an international Dalit organization, Ambedkar International Mission (AIM). AIM was founded in Texas, USA by Rajkumar Daulatrao Kamble (late), an NRI-Ambedkarite and Chemical Engineer, who led AIM to expand in US, Canada, Japan, Middle East, and across Europe. 273
Working under him was Thenmozhi Soundarajan, who was associated with former’s organization Ambedkar.org. Thenmozhi was the member of Ambedkar.org which was duly promoted by Kashif’s IndianMuslims.info. 274 Again, IndianMuslims.info was also promoting Dalitstan, a secessionist website to break India.
Now all these faces have become full-time activists and experts on operating all these fronts with Thenmozhi Soundarajan as one of the central individuals and duly promoted by the Jamaat fronts and Kashif Ul Huda.
Dalit Diva/ Equality Labs is following the same pattern that fronts like Polis Project, HfHR, IAMC, etc., have followed, copying the same method from the Jamaat/ Missionary playbook:
- Create innocuous-sounding fronts in the name of various rights groups
- Create ‘news sites’/ platforms – to provide OpEds
- Create Jury/ International Sounding fronts to give legitimacy to ‘activists’ and fronts
- Launch super-alliances
Wash and Repeat
Unfortunately, it seems that Jamaat has run out of individuals/ fronts, and is compelled to use and abuse the already exposed entities. After all, it takes time to create a façade. This will also explain the plethora of new awards and scholarships meant to account for fresh talent.
In a country like India, there will never be a dearth of such ‘talents’. However, the challenge would be to provide them with enough legitimate platforms to make them credible.
Another repeated trope has been the narrative, with only mild modifications. For example, during the first wave of such a campaign in the 1970s, the narratives were on the lines of Dalitstan – Khalistan – Kashmir – Mughalastan – Dravidstan. However, by now the new version of at least some of the stories have propped up – such as Dalit Nation – Kashmir – Khalistan – Dravidnadu.
Unfortunately, we are prone to play in the hands of our opponents – knowingly or unknowingly.