Indian journalist Subir Bhaumik has launched an overt influence campaign targeting Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina herself, says Medium.com, a news web portal.
In an article published on July 28, the web portal cited some examples of how the Indian journalist has launched the smear campaign against Hasina by setting up fake news portals.
Following is the full text of the article:
After failing to pull off a planned coup d'état in collaboration with a disgruntled former army general, Indian mercenary journalist Subir Bhaumik has launched an overt influence campaign targeting Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina herself.
Fake news portals set up by Bhaumik's minions for disseminating influence operations have recently taken an increasingly hostile posture towards Sheikh Hasina, following a campaign against some of her closest confidantes.
In a desperate bid to malign the Bangladeshi premier and discredit her secular credentials, Bhaumik has even photoshopped a portrait of Sheikh Hasina to be cropped with Imran Khan, Pakistan's prime minister.
Sheikh Hasina has not visited Pakistan in decades, certainly not during the nascent premiership of Imran Khan. Yet, Bhaumik on his Easternlinks depicted Sheikh Hasina as being in Imran Khan's office, where a portrait of Jinnah is hung on the wall.
A digital forensic analysis by Indian Insider reveals that Sheikh Hasina's photo was cropped out of her meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a meeting on the sidelines of the G7 Summit in 2017, which goes on to show how far Subir Bhaumik is willing to go to smear Hasina. On the other hand, Imran Khan's photo was taken from a meeting with a delegation led by Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.
In his desperate tirade against the Bangladeshi prime minister, Subir Bhaumik accused Hasina of "allying with Pakistan" and her party being "hijacked by Pakistani coterie" just because she spoke to a country's leader for 15 minutes via a phone call.
In a peculiar bid to instigate India, he wonders how Delhi would react to what he called "the Hasina challenge," as if Hasina posed a threat to India.
This is not the first time Bhaumik tried to pit India against Hasina.
Prior to the 2001 election, he helped facilitate BNP's outreach to certain Indian intelligence officials. Those rogue officers, in direct contradiction to the Indian official government policy, interfered with Bangladesh's politics, helping BNP to maneuver its way to winning the election. After Sheikh Hasina vented out her long-held frustrations in 2017, Subir Bhaumik immediately activated a damage-control measure by writing op-eds justifying actions of his allies.
Subir Bhaumik closely worked with the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), an ISI-allied and BNP-supported Indian separatist organization, to promote its cause around the world.
On the other hand, at the request of India, Sheikh Hasina detained ULFA leaders hiding in Bangladesh shortly after she came to power for the first time in 1996. And when she returned to power again in 2009, she eliminated all secret sanctuaries of Indian separatists in Bangladesh. It was, therefore, only natural that Subir Bhaumik would point his gun at Sheikh Hasina at some point.
In late 2017, Subir Bhaumik came up with a wild theory that a faction within Special Security Forces (SSF), tasked with Sheikh Hasina's security as well as VVIP protocols, attempted to kill her and overthrow the government. Although he sounded as if he was concerned about Hasina, he carefully chose the crucial pre-election year to spread the destabilizing untruths and demoralize Awami League's grassroots activists.
Subsequently, media investigations thoroughly debunked the story. An SSF officer he said had been killed was not only alive but was still on duty as part of the prime minister's security detail in London.
Meanwhile, given the hype it created, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) was forced to issue a public statement trashing the report. Yet, instead of retracting the story, Subir Bhaumik doubled down, claiming that the military intelligence forced the PMO to issue the statement. By doing so, he again blatantly undermined the authority of the civilian leadership, especially the prime minister.
While Subir Bhaumik has long targeted the government led by Awami League, he cautiously avoided attacking the Bangladeshi prime minister publicly. He would even publicize his supposed pro-Hasina bona fides.
"I have huge respect for Sheikh Hasina for what she has done for her country," Subir Bhaumik, who has close links with Pakistan's ISI, recently wrote. "... that does not make me overlook the emerging weaknesses of the Awami League and the shortcomings of her government."
The government led by Awami League is at its peak in terms of performance in governance, commanding respect from the international community and even her detractors for steering the country towards impressive economic prosperity.
Bangladesh has bettered many developed and neighboring countries in combating the COVID-19 pandemic with much limited resources. Politically, the opponents such as BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami are clueless, although much of their woes are of their own doing. Yet, Subir Bhaumik manufactured the "emerging weaknesses" and "shortcomings" of Sheikh Hasina.
Not once or twice, Subir Bhaumik repeatedly painted Sheikh Hasina as a dictator, who supposedly established a police state, akin to Egypt's Hosni Mubarak. He accused Hasina of being soft towards fundamentalists and, even worse, accommodating them.
But what he has done recently was remarkably dangerous, even by his standards. He crossed a line by not only trying to destabilize — and sow divisions among important institutions of — the government but also trying to unseat Sheikh Hasina.
He recently collaborated with a disgruntled former army general, Lt. Gen. Hasan Sarwardy, who lately developed close ties with Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) — the organization that more than anyone else on the planet wants Sheikh Hasina dead.
However, Bangladeshi intelligence agencies foiled the plot altogether. And as the conspiring army general has been neutralized, Subir Bhaumik's cover has been blown. A clearly frustrated Bhaumik now finds it impractical to remain in the shadows and has decided to attack Sheikh Hasina more overtly.