'Khan's remarks show visceral prejudice against India'

Last Updated 18 December 2019, 22:16 IST

India on Wednesday categorically rejected Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's remarks that a big refugee crisis is looming in South Asia due to the steps taken by the Indian government, saying his "gratuitous comments" only reflects the "visceral and pathological prejudice" against the country.

Addressing the first Global Refugee Forum as a co-convener in Geneva, Khan on Tuesday raised the Kashmir issue and claimed that a big refugee crisis is looming in South Asia due to the steps taken by the Narendra Modi-led Indian government.

"We categorically and unequivocally reject the unwarranted and gratuitous comments made in this forum by the Prime Minister of Pakistan which only reflects visceral and pathological prejudice against India," said Rajiv K Chander, the Permanent Representative of India to UN in Geneva.

"It is another dismal attempt by Pakistan to interfere in the internal affairs of India; to present an alarmist situation of the region; and abuse international fora," Chander told the meeting, according to the transcript of his speech available on the website of the UNHCR.

He said Pakistan is a self-proclaimed champion of human rights that has shrunk the size of its own minority community by subjecting them to "draconian blasphemy laws, systemic persecution, blatant abuse and forced conversions."

"My Government is only dealing with resultant problem through democracy and due process, things alien to Pakistan," the Indian diplomat said, apparently referring to the Citizenship Amendment Act which has been passed by the Indian Parliament and signed into law by the President.

According to the Citizenship Act, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014 following religious persecution there will get Indian citizenship.

"Citizens of India do not need anyone else to speak on their behalf, least of all those who have built an industry of terrorism from the ideology of hate. It would serve Prime Minister Khan and his country well if he focuses on the welfare of his own people and country," Chander said.

Citing example of Zoroastrian (Parsis) and Jew refugees, he said India has welcomed refugees from all over the world.

"Thousands and thousands have sought refuge in India from some of our neighbouring countries, including more than 10 million in 1971 from erstwhile East Pakistan, after which Bangladesh was born," he said, adding that India has always welcomed those who were persecuted.

(Published 18 December 2019, 22:16 IST)

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