Pakistani PM says comments are symptomatic of Indian government’s ‘fascist mindset’ towards Kashmir
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday condemned India’s plans to follow the “Israeli model” and build illegal settlements in Kashmir.
Reacting to a story that first appeared in Middle East Eye, Khan denounced calls by India’s US consul-general, Sandeep Chakravorty, for India to build settlements modelled after Israel for the return of the Hindu population to Kashmir.
He also described Chakravorty’s comments as symptomatic of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “fascist mindset” towards the region.
“[This] shows the fascist mindset of the Indian government’s RSS ideology that has continued the siege of Indian Occupied Jammu Kashmir for over 100 days,” Khan wrote on Twitter.
“[And] subjecting Kashmiris to the worst violation of their human rights while the powerful countries remain silent because of their trading interests.”
Chakravorty made his comments when addressing Kashmiri Hindus, also known as Pandits, during a private gathering on Saturday in New York City.
“I believe the security situation will improve, it will allow the refugees to go back, and in your lifetime, you will be able to go back… and you will be able to find security because we already have a model in the world,” Chakravorty said.
“I don’t know why we don’t follow it. It has happened in the Middle East. If the Israeli people can do it, we can also do it,” he added.
The BJP-led government has repeatedly vowed for the return of the Hindu minority who left Kashmir during the height of the insurgency against Indian rule in the early 1990s.
Estimates vary, but more than 100,000 Kashmiri Hindus left during the upheaval. According to government figures, 219 Kashmiri Pandits were killed between 1989-2004. More than 70,000 people died during the violence.
Pro-freedom leaders in Kashmir have repeatedly called for the return of Kashmiri Pandits, but have urged them to return as neighbours and not settlers.
Saturday’s gathering in New York was one of a number of events held at the behest of India’s right-wing government in its attempt to wrestle back control of the narrative in the face of grassroots mobilisation against its actions in Kashmir.
Earlier this year, Modi took the unprecedented step of revoking Article 370 of the Indian constitution, effectively ending Kashmir’s semi-autonomous status, and placing the area’s population under a communication blackout.
Modi’s action has drawn condemnation from rights groups and prompted two US congressional hearings, where calls were made for foreign delegations and foreign journalists to be allowed into the valley.
Thus far, only a far-right European delegation has been allowed in, while foreign journalists have not been permitted to enter the valley since August.