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Kulbhushan Jadhav-family meet: India accuses Pakistan of violating mutual understanding; says he was coerced, family harassed

Most of Jadhav’s remarks were clearly tutored and designed “to perpetuate the false narrative” of his alleged spying in Pakistan, the external affairs ministry said in a no-holds-barred statement against Islamabad’s conduct.

Reported by: India TV News Desk, New Delhi [ Updated: December 26, 2017 23:10 IST ]
The MEA said Pakistan disregarded the cultural and
Image Source : PTI The MEA said Pakistan disregarded the cultural and religious sensibilities of family members under the pretext of security precautions.

In what was already being touted as a PR stunt by Pakistan with the world watching its each move in allowing Kulbhushan Jadhav’s mother and wife to meet with the former Navy officer, India has accused Pakistan of violating mutual understandings on Kulbhushan Jadhav’s meeting with his family, and said the Indian national appeared coerced and under considerable stress during the tightly-controlled interaction. 

Most of Jadhav’s remarks were clearly tutored and designed “to perpetuate the false narrative” of his alleged spying in Pakistan, the external affairs ministry said in a no-holds-barred statement against Islamabad’s conduct. 

Summing up its anger, India said the manner in which Pakistan conducted Jadhav’s meeting yesterday with his family violated the letter and spirit of understandings that the two countries had.

Countering Pakistan’s contention that the meeting was a humanitarian concession, India’s statement said “this exercise lacked any credibility.” 

“From the feedback we have received of the meeting, it appears that Jadhav was under considerable stress and speaking in an atmosphere of coercion,” the MEA statement said.  “We also regret that contrary to assurances, the overall atmosphere of the meeting was intimidating insofar as family members were concerned,” it said. 

India alleged that Jadhav’s family members were asked to remove their “bindi, Mangal Sutra and bangles” before they could meet with him.

“Under the pretext of security precautions, the cultural and religious sensibilities of family members were disregarded. This included removal of mangal sutra, bangles and bindi, as well as a change in attire that was not warranted by security,” the Ministry of External Affairs said after a meeting of the family members with External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj upon their return from Islamabad to India.

MEA said Jadhav’s mother was prevented from talking in their mother tongue, although this was clearly the natural medium of communication. “She was repeatedly interrupted while doing so and eventually prevented from proceeding further in this regard,” the MEA said.

Family members, however, handled the situation with “great courage and fortitude,” the ministry said. 

Also Read: Kulbhushan Jadhav meets wife, mother from behind glass screen; Pak Foreign Min releases new video

The MEA said that for some inexplicable reason, despite her repeated requests, the shoes of Jadhav’s wife were not returned to her after the meeting.

“We would caution against any mischievous intent in this regard,” MEA said in a statement.

Jadhav, who was captured in March, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court for alleged spying, an accusation that India has dismissed as concocted.  New Delhi says Jadhav was kidnapped in Iran where he had legitimate business interests, and brought to Pakistan. To save Jadhav, India moved the International Court of Justice, which ordered Pakistan in May to stay his execution.

During yesterday’s meeting, whose pictures were released by Pakistan, Jadhav was seen sitting behind a glass screen while his mother and wife sat on the other side. They spoke through intercom and the entire 40-minute proceedings appeared to have been recorded on video. 

Before the meeting, the two governments were in touch through diplomatic channels and had reached “clear understandings” on the meeting’s modalities and format, the MEA statement said. 

While India “scrupulously abided by all its commitments,” Pakistan violated the letter and spirit of the understandings, it said. 

Despite a clear agreement that the media would not be allowed close access, Pakistani press was allowed on multiple occasions to “approach family members closely, harass and hector them and hurl false and motivated accusations” about Jadhav, the statement said. 

Deputy High Commissioner J P Singh, who accompanied the two women, was initially separated from them.  They were taken to the meeting without informing Singh, and the meeting was started without him, the statement said.  It added that Singh could join only after pressing the matter with officials, but was still kept behind an additional partition that did not allow him access to the meeting as agreed. 

Here is the full text of MEA’s statement:

Meeting of Shri Kulbhushan Jadhav with his mother and wife in Islamabad

December 26, 2017

• As you are all aware, the mother and wife of Shri Kulbhushan Jadhav met him yesterday in Islamabad. The meeting took place after requests by India for family access.

• Prior to the meeting, the two Governments were in touch through diplomatic channels to work out its modalities and format. There were clear understandings between the two sides and the Indian side scrupulously abided by all its commitments.

• However, we note with regret that the Pakistani side conducted the meeting in a manner which violated the letter and spirit of our understandings. This included:

i. The Pakistani press was allowed on multiple occasions to approach family members closely, harass and hector them and hurl false and motivated accusations about Shri Jadhav. This was despite a clear agreement that the media would not be allowed close access.

Also Read: ‘It wasn’t last meeting, will decide on consular access’, says Pakistan as Kulbhushan Jadhav meets family

ii. Under the pretext of security precautions, the cultural and religious sensibilities of family members were disregarded. This included removal of mangal sutra, bangles and bindi, as well as a change in attire that was not warranted by security.

iii. The mother of Shri Jadhav was prevented from talking in their mother tongue, although this was clearly the natural medium of communication. She was repeatedly interrupted while doing so and eventually prevented from proceeding further in this regard.

iv. Deputy High Commissioner was initially separated from family members who were taken to the meeting without informing him. The meeting was started without his presence and he could join only after pressing the matter with concerned officials. Even then, he was kept behind an additional partition that did not allow him access to the meeting as agreed.

• For some inexplicable reason, despite her repeated requests, the shoes of the wife of Shri Jadhav were not returned to her after the meeting. We would caution against any mischievous intent in this regard.

• From the feedback we have received of the meeting, it appears that Shri Jadhav was under considerable stress and speaking in an atmosphere of coercion. Most of his remarks were clearly tutored and designed to perpetuate the false narrative of his alleged activities in Pakistan. His appearance also raises questions of his health and well being.

• We also regret that contrary to assurances, the overall atmosphere of the meeting was intimidating insofar as family members were concerned. Family members, however, handled the situation with great courage and fortitude.

• The manner in which the meeting was conducted and its aftermath was clearly an attempt to bolster a false and unsubstantiated narrative of Shri Jadhav’s alleged activities. You would all agree that this exercise lacked any credibility.

Also Read: Kulbhushan Jadhav finally meets wife, mother; Pakistan calls him 'face of Indian terror'

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