India has accused Pakistan of not only persecuting minority Hindus, Sikhs and Christians, but also of killing Muslims – countering neighbouring country’s Prime Minister Imran Khan’s allegation of Islamophobia after staging a walk-out during his speech at the United Nations General Assembly.

After Khan accused the Government of India of sponsoring Islamophobia, New Delhi deployed a young diplomat to exercise its “Right to Reply” and respond to the Prime Minister of Pakistan. “This (Pakistan) is the country that has systematically cleansed its minorities including Hindus, Christians, Sikhs and others, through the abuse of its blasphemy laws and through forced religious conversions,” said Mijito Vinito, the First Secretary at the Permanent Mission of India at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York.

Vinito, earlier staged a walkout as soon as Khan started addressing the UN General Assembly virtually. “For someone who professes to be a champion of Islam, this is also a country that has encouraged killing of fellow Muslims merely because they belonged to a different sect, or to a different region in Pakistan, and through sponsoring terrorist attacks against its neighbours,” said the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer of the 2010 batch.

He took a dig at Khan and reminded the General Assembly that Pakistan Prime Minister had referred to the Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden as a “martyr” in the Parliament of his country in July. He also pointed out that Khan had in 2019 admitted in public in the US that Pakistan still had about 30,000-40,000 terrorists who had been trained and fought in Afghanistan and in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) of India.

He also referred to Pakistan Army’s genocide in Bangladesh in 1971.

Khan earlier targeted the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) – the mentor of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party of India. “While the Nazis hate was directed at the Jews, the RSS directs it towards the Muslims and to a lesser extent towards the Christians. They believe that India is exclusive for Hindus and others are not equal citizens,” said the Prime Minister of Pakistan. “The secularism of (Mahatma) Gandhi and (Jawaharlal) Nehru has been replaced by the dream of creating a Hindu Rashtra by subjugating, even cleansing India’s 200 million Muslims and other minorities”.

He referred to the process of upgrading the National Register of Citizens in Assam and the violent clash in Delhi in February to allege growing Islamophobia in India. He also said that Muslims had been blamed for the spread of coronavirus in India.

Khan also raised the issue of J&K, just as he did in his speech to the UNGA last year. He said that India must rescind its August 5, 2019 decision to strip J&K of its special status and reorganise the state into two Union Territories. He said that India must end its military siege and human rights violation in J&K and settle the dispute with Pakistan in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions and the will of the people of Kashmir.

Vinito, in his response said that J&K was an integral and inalienable part of India. The rules and legislation brought in J&K were strictly internal affairs of India, he said, adding, The only dispute left in Kashmir relates to that part of Kashmir that is still under illegal occupation of Pakistan. We call upon Pakistan to vacate all those areas that it is in illegal occupation of it.”