Pakistan’s government has expressed outrage over comments by India’s consul-general in New York, who suggested at a recent event that India should build Hindu settlements in Kashmir like those constructed by Israel in the Palestinian territories.
“It has happened in the Middle East. If the Israeli people can do it, we can also do it,” said the consul-general, Sandeep Chakravorty, at an event attended by Kashmiri Hindus (known as ‘Pandits’) in New York last weekend.
Pakistan’s ambassador to Turkey, Muhammad Syrus Sajjad Qazi, told TRT World that “these remarks are shocking but not surprising at all.”
“It has been apparent all-along that encouraged by the international community’s inability or unwillingness to address the situation in the Occupied Palestinian territories, India is now following the same colonial strategy,” he said.
Kashmir has been heavily in the news as of late due to India’s controversial decision in August to rescind the autonomy of Jammu & Kashmir and create two new Union territories ruled directly from New Delhi.
Since the summer, India has surged more troops into the disputed region, adding to the several hundred thousand already believed to be there, imposed a curfew and communications blackout, and detained scores of local politicians and activists.
Pakistan’s prime minister Imran Khan tweeted in response to the diplomat’s comments that he “shows the fascist mindset of the Indian govt’s RSS ideology,” referring to Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a Hindu nationalist organisation with links to India’s ruling BJP party.
According to Ambassador Qazi, both India and Israel commit “flagrant violations” of international law in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions, “including by taking unilateral actions to change the status of the occupied territories and their demographic composition.”
“The silence of the international community will only further encourage India’s colonial hubris,” Qazi said.
“The Kashmiris and the Palestinians, unfortunately, face the same predicament.”
Asked to confirm or deny if the Indian government believed that the Israeli model was an appropriate guide for its handling of Kashmir, Aditya Jha, first secretary at the Indian consulate in Istanbul, said: “We have no information on this.”