International South Asia Forum (INSAF)

INSAF is another major example of how the Forum of Inquilabi Leftists (FOIL) and its partners employ deceptive strategies to create groups that sound and look independent but are not. The information below sheds more light on the fact that INSAF is a creation of FOIL members sitting in Canada and the US.

INSAF claims to be yet another coalition of “…individuals and organizations dedicated to the promotion of peace and social justice in South Asia…[who] seek a peaceful resolution of all conflicts in the region, demilitarization, an end to the nuclear standoff between India and Pakistan, and promotion of friendship among the people of the region.”[1]

However, as shown by the figure below, the website is fairly empty and only directs users to go to their bulletin (more on it below). Furthermore, the only article that INSAF felt worthy of being featured on its website is FOIL’s vicious attack that damned the Indian American Charity, IDRF. And, the website features two additional links – ektaonline.org, belonging to EKTA, discussed here; and, alliancesouthasia.org, the old website of ASDSA, a key INSAF affiliate discussed here.

INSAF Website

In addition, a snapshot of the website by the Internet Archive’s WayBack Machine shows that this page has remained the same since March 8, 2010 – for over four years![2]

Section 26.01    INSAF – FOIL’s Portal for Canada-US Radical Leftist Collaboration

In 2005, Biju Mathew, the co-founder of FOIL, admitted that INSAF is part of FOIL’s beehive when he declared in an interview discussing FOIL’s initiatives: “We also have a website (www.insaf.net) devoted to discussion of issues relating to South Asia from a leftist perspective.”[3]

Similarly, INSAF’s website is registered to Shekhar Ramakrishnan and the SINGH Foundation, the fundraising arm of FOIL. Ramakrishnan is also the main registrar for FOIL’s website as well as several others. (This is highlighted under Important Illustrations  as well as under FOIL). What’s more, INSAF hosts FOIL’s mouthpiece Ghadar[4] as well as FOIL’s old listserve (as seen from the figure below). Similarly, a WayBack Machine Search shows that Ashwini Rao and Junaid Rana of FOIL were listed as the main contacts for INSAF’s New York activities.[5]

Hence, INSAF is not a separate organization as the CAG claims on its roster.

INSAF NY-FOIL Listserve2

 

According to its old website, INSAF was founded in 1999 at a conference on South Asia, organized by the Montreal based South Asia Research and Resource Center (CERAS), another member of the CAG discussed here.[6] The connections between FOIL, CERAS and SANSAD (discussed here) are exposed when one examines INSAF’s coordination committee elected in 2001[7] – the late Hari Sharma, founder of SANSAD, was the President; Vinod Mubayi (President of SINGH Foundation)[8] was the Vice President; Abha Sur of SINGH Foundation and ASDSA was the Vice President; and, Daya Varma, President of CERAS, was the Secretary. Finally, INSAF’s member-groups include ASDSA, EKTA, SANSAD and CERAS, among others.[9]

Section 26.02    INSAF Bulletin

The current website of INSAF asks readers to visit (http://www.insafbulletin.net/) to find its latest bulletins. Thus, INSAF has now transformed into INSAF Bulletin. That is, this group, which claims to be independent, only survives now as a bulletin run by people from CERAS and FOIL. The website is registered to Feroz Mehdi,[10] who is also coordinator for CERAS, according to the CERAS newsletter.[11] Daya Varma of CERAS and Vinod Mubayi of SINGH Foundation are Editors of INSAF Bulletin.[12]

INSAF Bulletin features the all-too-familiar diatribes against Narendra Modi, the BJP, etc. while staying fairly mild or mute in its attack on the Congress government or any other political party in India. Writings by Marxist historian and Hinduphobe Ram Puniyani are also featured in the bulletin, along with those by others, including INSAF’s Varma and Mubayi. Their hatred for Mr. Modi and the BJP government shows throughout the bulletin. And, they do not hesitate to exaggerate facts and transform half-truths into convincing arguments.

In the January 2014 bulletin, Varma and Mubayi, while discussing the defeat of the Congress Party and the rise of Mr. Modi, compare the two thus:

Rahul Gandhi is an object mostly of jokes and while his mother Sonia commands some respect, she is a far cry from a dynamic campaigner [emphasis added]. Narendra Modi, on the other hand, is quite possibly a criminal with blood on his hands and has very disturbing features of a possible fascist dictator [emphasis added]; but in the prevailing culture he is able to project an image of a strong leader aided by a pliant media, in particular among TV anchors and the Hindi language [P]ress, as well as a zealous army of RSS-trained robots…to a large section of the communalized Hindu middle-class youth in the cities, he has the image of a ‘can-do’ leader who will sweep aside all obstacles.[13]

Beyond the offhand dismissal and name-calling of Mr. Modi, Mubayi and Varma also decry the youth that support Mr. Modi’s vision of development for India. The millions of Indian youth – sick and tired of dynastic rule, decades of corruption and mismanagement and thus supporting someone who has shown a record of progress – are automatically deemed as fanatics!

Similarly, writing about the August 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots, Mubayi and Varma squarely blame the BJP and “Hindu communal forces” for fomenting the riots, deeming the riots “…simply the opening salvo of killer Modi’s election campaign….It is a tried and tested strategy that paid off big for Modi and the BJP in the elections in Gujarat following the 2002 pogrom of Muslims.”[14] In this article, they are predictably soft on the other political parties and players. They deliberately omit the fact that Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan was on the hot seat for pressuring the police to release the Muslims accused in the death of two Hindu youth, Sachin and Gaurav.[15] Furthermore, a sting operation conducted by Headlines Today shows that the cops were deliberately told by Azam Khan to “go slow” on handling the riots and let the situation unfold itself.[16] To add to this, on October 9, four police officers registered charges against Azam Khan, where they declared:

…Khan had them punished because he was upset that seven Muslims had been arrested for allegedly killing [the] two brothers in the village of Kawal on August 27. They have said in court that under pressure from the minister, their bosses ordered the release of the suspects immediately.[17]

A Firstpost report on September 12, 2013 clearly “…points to [provocative] comments made by Qader Rana of the Bahujan Samaj Party [while] addressing the Muslim panchayat, Saeed-Ur-Zama of the Congress party and Rashid Siddiqui of the Samajwadi Party.”[18]

In their anxiety to crucify the BJP and Narendra Modi, organizations such as INSAF, FOIL, IAMC and the entire nexus deliberately choose not to focus on such points. By focusing on the “Hindu side” and blaming the whole episode on “Hindu extremism”, this nexus continues to fan the flames of hatred between the Hindu and Muslim communities.

 

[1] http://www.insaf.net/central/index.html.  Accessed January 19, 2014

[2] https://web.archive.org/web/20100308113224/http://www.insaf.net/central/index.html. Accessed January 19, 2014

[3] Yoginder Sikand and Biju Mathew, “Stop Funding Hate”, http://www.countercurrents.org/comm-mathew120805.htm, August 12, 2005.  Accessed January 7, 2014

[4] See http://ghadar.insaf.net/. Accessed January 19, 2014

[5] https://web.archive.org/web/20030609224947/http://insaf.net/central/insafny/insafny.html. Accessed January 19, 2014

[6] See “Founding Declaration” at the old INSAF website at http://www.insaf.net/central/insaf-old/decla.html.  Accessed January 19, 2014

[7] See a list of the Committee Members at http://www.insaf.net/central/insaf-old/commitee.html.Accessed January 19, 2014

[8] See the list of Directors of SINGH Foundation at http://www.singhfoundation.org/. Accessed January 19, 2014

[9] See the full list of Member groups at http://www.insaf.net/central/insaf-old/members.html. Accessed January 19, 2014

[10] http://www.whois.net/whois/insafbulletin.net. Accessed January 19, 2014

[11] Dolores Chew & Gabrielle Collu, “India after the Ballot Count”, Ceras Newsletter, http://ceras.alternatives.ca/13/ballot.htm. Accessed January 19, 2014

[12] See INSAF Bulletin 141, January 2014 at http://www.insafbulletin.net/. Accessed January 19, 2014

[13] Vinod Mubayi and Daya Varma, “CONGRESS TROUNCED IN PROVINCIAL ELECTIONS: WHAT’S NEXT?”, January 2014, INSAF Bulletin 141, http://www.insafbulletin.net/archives/2170. January 19, 2014

[14] Vinod Mubayi and Daya Varma, “MUZAFFARNAGAR 2013 – A TASTE OF THINGS TO COME”, October 2013, INSAF Bulletin 138, http://www.insafbulletin.net/archives/date/2013/10. Accessed January 19, 2014

[15] “Azam Khan had interfered with police probe, Jats tell Congress leaders”, September 18, 2003, The Times of India, http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-09-18/india/42182220_1_azam-khan-congress-leaders-jats. Accessed January 19, 2014

[16] “Cops expose Azam Khan’s role in Muzaffarnagar violence”, September 18, 2013, Headlines Today, http://headlinestoday.intoday.in/programme/muzaffarnagar-riots-operation-riot-for-votes-azam-khan-uttar-pradesh-police/1/310384.html. Accessed January 19, 2014

[17] Anant Zanane, “Police officers take on Azam Khan in court over Muzaffarnagar riots”, October 10, 2013, NDTV, http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/police-officers-take-on-azam-khan-in-court-over-muzaffarnagar-riots-430232.  Accessed January 19, 2014

[18] “Muzaffarnagar riots: The inciteful speeches that fanned rioters’ fury”, September 12, 2013, Firstpost, http://www.firstpost.com/politics/muzaffarnagar-riots-the-inciteful-speeches-that-fanned-rioters-fury-1103789.html.  Accessed January 19, 2014