After it received much attention and outrage, the Indian digital media outlet, The Quint, has retracted a story published earlier stating that convicted Indian spy in Pakistan, Kulbhushan Jadhav, was indeed a RAW agent. The Quint had declared Pakistan’s claim that Kulbhushan was an India spy as true. The newspaper revealed that two RAW agents threatened Jadhav’s parents to not talk about their son’s detention in Pakistan with anyone, and exposed the fact that Jadhav possessed two passports with different identities. Now, the Quint has retracted the story, stating that it rechecking some of the information mentioned in the article.
Considering the shady circumstances surrounding this, it would be reaching to say that the retraction of the article was due entirely to factual discrepancies. There was tremendous backlash and outrage directed at the Quint after the publication of the article. In a classical case of intimidating activists, a sad phenomena we experience in the neighbouring country as well, the Foreign Office of Pakistan has reported that Chandan Nandy, the journalist at the Quint who investigated the story has gone missing, and in untraceable for friends and family. The Quint itself, despite presenting hard indisputable evidence in its article, like the second passport of Jadhav, has faced immense pressure from Indian politicians and media alike to retract the story, and call it false.
This would be an addition to a series of attack on freedom of speech perpetuated by India in 2017. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) recorded over 20 instances of journalists being threatened, attacked, censored and killed, simply for reporting the truth. It is highly likely that the Quint will join these stories of journalistic tragedies.
Whatever the situation regarding the article is, it is a further dent in India’s already weak case. This story further confirms Pakistan’s narrative in a case where all the evidence also favours Pakistan. The fact about Jadhav being a spy had already been confirmed by his confession, as well as the surrounding evidence, such as his second hidden passport, but this report further corroborates it. Furthermore, the fact that Pakistan went along with India’s request to present it to the ICJ, when it was not legally binding for Pakistan to do, and is complying with law and order, proves Pakistan’s commitment to the truth.
India’s commitment to peace is questionable however, as its track record shows that it is willing to take part in media repression to maintain its narrative.