Jadhav meeting lacked credibility, Pak peddling false narrative: India

NEW DELHI, DEC 26: India on Tuesday brushed aside Pakistan’s “grand gesture” of allowing Kulbhushan Jadhav to meet his wife and mother as an exercise that lacked credibility and one which was meant to bolster the false and unsubstantiated narrative of Jadhav’s alleged activities in Pakistan.
The two women, wife Chetankul and mother Avanti, met the foreign minister Sushma Swaraj after they returned from Islamabad late Monday.
In an official reaction shortly after the meeting with Swaraj, in which foreign secretary S Jaishankar and other MEA officials were present, the government noted with regret that Pakistan conducted the meeting in a manner which violated the letter and spirit of the understanding that the two countries had reached earlier.
As per the MEA statement on Jadhav’s meeting with family India listed a series of reasons for its indictment of Pakistan authorities starting with the manner in which the local press was allowed to harass and hector the two women on multiple occasions as well as hurl accusations at them despite the understanding that media would not be allowed close access.
Second, in what was described as shocking, Jadhav’s wife and mother were made to get rid of Hindu symbols such as bindis, mangalsutra, bangles and forced to change their clothes.
“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,” said the government in a statement.
Third, Jadhav’s mother who is not fluent in English was prevented from speaking in Marathi, her natural medium of communication, by Pakistan officials who were recording the conversation.
“She was repeatedly interrupted while doing so and eventually prevented from proceeding further in this regard,” said the government.
Fourth, Deputy High Commissioner JP Singh was initially separated from family members who were taken to the meeting without informing him. It was only after Singh strongly protested and told Pakistan officials that they were violating the mutual understanding that he was allowed inside. However, even then, Singh was kept behind an additional partition that did not allow him access to the meeting as agreed before.
Singh later accompanied the two women on their return journey to India.
Fifth, as the government said, for some inexplicable reason and despite repeated requests from Jadhav’s wife, Pakistan officials did not return her shoes after the meeting. “We would caution against any mischievous intent in this regard,” said the Indian government in its statement.
According to sources here, India had chosen to not respond immediately on Monday to Pakistan’s grandstanding as it wanted the women to safely return from Islamabad and take their feedback first.
Officials here described the conduct of Jadhav’s mother and wife in the meeting as stoic and added that it was only after concluding the meeting and leaving the Pakistan foreign office that the two women complained bitterly about the conduct of Pakistani officials.
“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,” said the MEA.
“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,” it added.
Prior to the meeting, the two governments were in touch through diplomatic channels to work out its modalities and format.