Pakistani officials and Kashmiris have slammed the notion that an 'Israel Model' be applied in Kashmir saying it only confirms the true nature of India's recent actions in Kashmir.
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.
Khan has previously compared India’s government to the Nazis, likening his counterpart, Narendra Modi, to Adolf Hitler for his alleged desire to cleanse India of its Muslim minority and impose a “final solution” in Kashmir.
India also revoked Article 35A of its constitution, which accorded special rights to the residents of Jammu & Kashmir and prohibited Indians living outside the state from acquiring land there.
Indian officials have argued that changing Kashmir’s status was necessary to facilitate development and combat terrorists, who exploited the region’s semi-autonomy to operate more freely there.
Hilal Mir, a journalist based in Kashmir, told TRT World that the consul-general’s remarks “have only validated the fears of Kashmiri Muslims that the real intent behind abrogation of special legislations was not development, but changing demographics.”
India’s hardline Hindu nationalist BJP government apparently intends to resettle the predominantly Muslim state with some of the 200,000-300,000 Kashmiri Pandits who fled Kashmir’s insurgency decades ago.
Earlier this year Ram Madhav, the BJP’s national general secretary responsible for Kashmir, said that the Indian government intended to construct Hindu settlements in the disputed region.
According to Mohamad Junaid, an assistant professor at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, the remarks “reflect a new brazenness with which Indian officials are stating their agenda of a settler-colonial state and forced demographic change in Kashmir.”
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.”