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Kulbhushan Jadhav's 'well-choreographed' family reunion: MEA slams Pak for violating sentiments

Catch Team | Updated on: 26 December 2017, 19:10 IST

A day after the 40-minute-long, well choreographed, meeting between Kulbhushan Jadhav and his family, the Indian government has alleged violations of the understanding. And strange behaviour by the Pakistani officials, including not returning Jadhav's wife's shoes.

The government said Pakistanis, on the pretext of security, disregarded religious sentiments of the visiting family. They were also not allowed to speak in their mother tongue.

“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 statement by the Ministry of External Affairs says.

Ministry of External Affairs, in a lengthy statement released after a meeting between Jadhav’s family – mother Avantika Jadhav and wife Chetana Jadhav – and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, says there was a clear understanding between two sides.

“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,” the statement says.

“However, we note with regret that the Pakistani side conducted the meeting in a manner which violated the letter and spirit of our understandings,” the statement alleges.

According to the statement, the Pakistani press harassed the family.

“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,” the statement says.

After the meeting on Monday, Mohammad Faisal, the spokesperson of the Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs had said they wanted the visiting family to answer questions. But Indian government had requested that there would be no interaction with the media.

Even though the family did not speak to any media house, the whole affair was telecast live on Pakistani TV.

The statement also says how Pakistan was disrespectful of the religious sensibilities.

“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 statement says.

The meeting, where the Pakistanis made sure was high on optics, happened in a specially designed room, with cameras, and intercom. A thick glass wall separated the family and Jadhav. The Indian government says the family and Jadhav were not allowed to speak in their mother tongue.

“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,” the statement says.

Moreover, despite agreements between both sides that an Indian diplomat would be allowed with the family, the Indian government says JP Singh, the Deputy High Commissioner in Islamabad, was separated from the family at the Foreign Office.

“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,” the statement says.

Photos show Singh watching the meeting from a different enclosure.

Strangely, Pakistani officials did not return Jadhav's wife's shoes after the meeting.

“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,” the statement says.

Interestingly, India has also raised concerns about Jadhav’s health. Spokesperson Faisal, in his briefing after the meeting, had flashed a medical certificate which claimed how Jadhav was in good health. But Indian government says – “his appearance also raises questions of his health and well being”.

Pakistan has released multiple video statements of Jadhav since his arrest in 2016. Following the same pattern, they have him confessing his role in different terror activities. India has claimed that they lack no credibility. Yet another video was released after the meeting.

The Indian government says according to their feedback 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”.

Edited by Jhinuk Sen

First published: 26 December 2017, 19:10 IST