Kochi (VSK). There was widespread criticism against the ‘Cutting South’ conclave held in Kochi in April. Showing Dakshin Bharat separately in different colour in the brochure has been viewed as a deliberate attempt to ‘divide’. Now, the organisers themselves have paved the way for the reinforcement of this assumption by stating that the programme had got foreign fund.
Dhanya Rajendran, editor of ‘News Minute’, one of the prominent organisers of the programme, had reportedly said that Canadian High Commission had sponsored a session on ‘Climatic Changes’. She is reported to have said this while giving statement before the Bengaluru Central Police. She had said that Kerala Media Academy picked up the tab for the rest of the expenses. Dhanya is reported to have added that the programme had no truck with the outlawed Popular Front of India (PFI).
NIA and ED have started inquiries into the financial sources of news portals ‘News Minute’ and ‘News Lawn Tree’. Both central agencies had reportedly got information that funding for extremist activities are camouflaged as news portal subscriptions. A special team of Jammu Kashmir Police had stated in the FIR submitted before NIA Court that extremists get foreign fund in this manner.
These sorts of portals charge much higher subscription rates than the rates of the national main stream portals. And, it is alleged that the customers are categorized as VIPs, VVIPs, Game Changers and charge heavy subscription rates, hundreds of thousands of rupees! Even though the name raised is ‘The Kashmir Wala Digital Media,’ there are several other mysterious portals like this, in several parts of the country, the report adds. Portals can use this for money laundering also. ‘Paid news’ also play a role.
It is alleged that ‘News Minute’ and ‘News Lawn Tree’, the media partners of the ‘Cutting South’ conclave, do have the above-mentioned subscription patterns. The monies sent as subscriptions by pro-extremist organisations go to the kitties of the extremists as hawala. Kerala Media Academy and Kerala Union of Working Journalists, an autonomous institution under Government of Kerala and a body which remains close to CPM respectively, were the partners in the conclave. So, functionaries of both bodies are likely to be interrogated.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan did not call the programme, during his online inaugural speech, “Cutting South” but mentioned “Global South” conclave. Observers believe that he did so due to the Intelligence reports.
Political observers of nationalist moorings consider the conclave as an attempt to propagate division between Uttar Bharat and Dakshin Bharat.
Even though the organisers had mentioned in their brochures that Goa Governor P.S. Sreedharan Pillai was a prominent guest in the programme, Raj Bhavan distanced from it stating that Raj Bhavan and Governor had not issued any communication in this regard. ‘Cutting South’ is not known to either Raj Bhavan or Governor.
Several ‘invitees’ are reported to have expressed their anger for using their names.