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Govt silent over report India tried to influence Canadian leaders through an ‘Indian editor, A.B.’




Justin Trudeau
(Representational Image) Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau | Photo: Jasper Juinen | Bloomberg

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New Delhi: A Canadian news website, Global news on Friday published a news report claiming that Indian intelligence — Research and Analysis Wing and Intelligence Bureau, attempted to “covertly influence” Canadian politicians into supporting Indian Government interests through a planted source.

The report claimed that an Indian citizen in Canada in the name of “A.B.” who is editor-in-chief of an unnamed Indian newspaper, was being used for espionage and to sway Canadian politicians into supporting Indian government interests.

Despite the grave allegations, the Ministry of Home Affairs, IB and R&AW, when contacted, were silent on the report and refused to comment on the same.

“We cannot comment on this,” a home ministry official told ThePrint.

Senior IB and R&AW too did not comment on the alleged operation. “No comments on such media reports,” a senior R&AW officer said.

A source in IB, however said that an officer of IB is posted in Ottawa and R&AW too has its own set up at both Ottawa and Toronto under HCI and CGI respectively.

“If such an operation is on then it would be directly under the higher ups,” the source said.

Also read: Why Pakistan’s powerful Army & assertive judiciary are on an unprecedented collision course

A court document

The report by Global News also mentions a document which they claim shows the alleged “foreign influence operation” by Indian intelligence agencies.

The document, the report claims, shows how an Indian national, accused by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service of espionage, was at the centre of the operation.

The report claimed that the court records identified the man as “A.B.,” editor-in-chief of an unnamed Indian newspaper. His wife and son are Canadian citizens.

“He allegedly met Indian intelligence more than 25 times over six years, most recently in May 2015 — a month after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Canada,” the Global News wrote.

The report also says that the man denied allegations of being “covertly” “tasked” by Indian “handlers,” and said he had only met the intelligence agencies in his capacity as an editor, Global News reported.

The report in Global News also quoted a letter by immigration authorities according to which, one of A.B’s tasks was allegedly “to convince politicians that funding from Canada was being sent to Pakistan to support terrorism.”

Also read: Inside story of attack on Balakot — from IAF officer who planned and executed it

Allegation after NSICOP report

According to the report, the allegation of India conducting this operation comes soon after the release of National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP) report on foreign interference.

The report had acknowledged that China, Russia and other states were conducting foreign interference activities in Canada and that “elected and public officials across all orders of government” were being targeted.

The report had not mentioned anything about India but made a note about the large Indian population staying in Canada.

The Global News report also states how India has long sought to pressure Ottawa over what it alleges to be continued support within Canada for violent extremists advocating independence for India’s Sikh minority.

The report further states how India campaigned against neighbouring Pakistan over its failure to curb terrorist organisations such as Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, which attacked Mumbai in 2008, killing more than 160.

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Andhra doctor, suspended for alleging PPE shortage, now beaten by cops for ‘creating nuisance’




doctor with a stethoscope
A doctor with a stethoscope (Representative image) | Pixabay

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Bengaluru: A doctor with a government hospital in Andhra Pradesh, who was suspended for questioning the shortage of PPE kits, was admitted to a mental health facility Sunday, a day after he was allegedly manhandled by the police and arrested for creating nuisance in Visakhapatnam.

Dr Sudhakar Rao, a government civil surgeon, was beaten, his hands tied behind his back and dragged by police officers Sunday. During the incident, Sudhakar allegedly verbally abused the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in an inebriated state. Videos of the incident have since been widely shared online.

“The police control room received a call about a person creating nuisance on Beach Road Hospital in Visakhapatnam. The Fourth Town police was rushed there and found that the person was the suspended doctor, Sudhakar.

“When the police tried to control him, he snatched the mobile phone of an officer and threw it away. He is suffering from mental disorder and he was drunk. He was sent for a medical examination,” Vishakapatnam Police Commissioner R.K. Meena told the media Sunday.

Sudhakar was admitted to a mental hospital Sunday after doctors at the King George Hospital in Vishakapatnam said he suffered from anxiety.

“Since the doctor is in anxiety and talking irrelevant things, I have referred him to a mental care hospital in Visakhapatnam,” said Dr Radha Rani, medical superintendent, King George Hospital.

A statement released by the hospital said: “Dr Sudhakar was brought to the KGH casualty ward at 6.30 pm. From the smell, it was found that he was in a drunk condition. Under the influence of alcohol, he did not cooperate with anybody there and kept abusing all. Still, his pulse, BP were checked. Pulse was 98, BP 140/100. Blood samples were sent to forensic lab to ascertain alcohol content in his blood.”

Also read: 6 toilets for 20 houses, inadequate testing: Why Mumbai’s Worli chawls are a Covid hotspot

‘Treatment towards Sudhakar was inhuman’

Sudhakar, who spent more than 10 years at the Narsipatnam Government Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, was suspended from his duties in March after he openly criticised the Reddy government for failing to provide PPE kits and N95 masks to doctors treating Covid-19 patients.

He had alleged that the state government was giving N95 masks and PPE kits meant for doctors to politicians and the police.

A video of Sudhakar criticising the government was also shared widely. In the clip, he can be heard saying: “We are putting our lives at risk here. We are asked to use the same mask for 15 days and a fresh mask will be provided only twice a month.”

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr P. Gangadhar Rao, member of the National COVID Committee of the Indian Medical Association, said the manner in which Sudhakar was manhandled by the police was “inhuman” and “violated” human rights.

“We strongly condemn the way he was taken into custody. He was not carrying a weapon, he was alone, the number of policemen outnumbered him. Why treat him like that? We also saw a video where a policeman beats him with a lathi,” said Dr Gangadhar.

He added that Rao was one of the most experienced anaesthetists the Andhra Pradesh government had.

“Our next step of action is to get Sudhakar to write an unconditional apology for having used filthy language, abusing the chief minister and the government. We will then take our appeal to the CM seeking that he be reinstated,” Gangadhar said.

Also read: Face shields, gowns, masks — the new attire for cabin crew post lockdown


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