India hits out at Pakistan over Kulbhushan Jadhav meeting

India has slammed Pakistan for violating the letter and spirit of the understandings reached between the two countries over the…

India hits out at Pakistan over Kulbhushan Jadhav meeting

Sushma Swaraj (Photo: AFP)

India has slammed Pakistan for violating the letter and spirit of the understandings reached between the two countries over the meeting between former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav and his mother and wife in Islamabad on Monday.

India said the manner in which the interaction was conducted was clearly an attempt to bolster a false and unsubstantiated narrative of the Indian prisoner’s alleged activities and 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. 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,’’ External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in a strongly-worded statement on Tuesday.


He said that under the pretext of security precautions, the Pakistani establishment disregarded the cultural and religious sensibilities of Jadhav’s family members before the meeting.

This included removal of mangalsutra, bangles and bindi, as well as a change in attire that was not warranted by security, he added.

The statement came hours after Jadhav’s mother Avantika and wife Chetnakul met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and briefed her on their 40-minute meeting in Islamabad with the Indian national who is on death row in Pakistan on concocted charges of espionage.

Senior Indian officials, including Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and India’s Deputy High Commissioner JP Singh, who accompanied the two women to the meeting with Jadhav, were among those present at the meeting with Sushma Swaraj.

The spokesperson said Jadhav’s mother was prevented from talking to her son 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 with it.

The Deputy High Commissioner of India was initially separated from the family members who were taken to the meeting without informing him. The meeting 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, he added.

The spokesperson added that for some inexplicable reason, despite her repeated requests, the shoes belonging to Jadhav’s wife were not returned to her after the meeting. “We would caution against any mischievous intent in this regard,’’ he added.

The spokesperson also regretted that contrary to the assurances given to New Delhi, the overall atmosphere of the meeting was intimidating to the family members. They, however, handled the situation with great courage and fortitude, he added.

He said the Pakistani press was allowed on multiple occasions to approach Jadhav’s family members closely, harass and hector them and hurl false and motivated accusations about the Indian death row convict.  This was despite a clear agreement that the media would not be allowed close access.

The spokesperson said the meeting had taken 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, he said.