Kulbhushan Jadhav, a former Indian Naval Officer wasarrested in March 2016 by the Pakistan forces. He was accused of espionage in Baluchistanand Karachi and working for Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), an Indianintelligence agency. He was sentenced to death by the Field General CourtMartial on April 10, 2017 after three and a half months of trial.

Jadhav’s sentencewas at stay, since India had approached the International Court of Justice(ICJ)India denied any such accusations and had requested consularaccess to Mr. Jadhav, while demanding a certified copy of the charge sheet aswell as the judgment. The request was denied 13 times, as told by Mr. GautamBambawale, Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad.

The Pakistani Minister claimsto have granted India consular access to Jadhav, but the Foreign Ministry deniesit.Media of both the countries received the news differently.While the Pakistani media celebrated the arrest, the Indian media houses werecurious and started to dig deeper.In December 2017, a 40-minute meeting was arranged at theForeign Office, Islamabad for the accused to meet his wife and mother.The family met Sushma Swaraj and other government officialsat her residence, where the entire meeting was discussed. Spokesperson ofMinistry of External Affairs, Raveesh Kumar said, Pakistani side conducted themeeting in a manner which violated the letter and spirit of the understanding. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said, the pressrepeatedly harassed the family, hurled false and motivated accusations wherethey weren’t even allowed to give any access to the media according to the agreement.

Under the pretext of security precautions, the women’s cultural and religioussensibilities were disregarded. This included removal of bangles, bindi andmangal sutra. The mother was repeatedly shouted at to refrain from using theirmother tongue to speak. Although this was a natural medium of communication.Even the shoes of Jadhav’s wife were removed and not returned despite repeatedrequests. The officials in Pakistan said, there was “something” in the shoe andit was being investigated.The meeting was held in a room separated by a glass wall,and the family reunited through a telecom arrangement. Some reports suggest theDeputy High Commissioner was initially separated from the family members, andthe women were taken to the meeting room without informing him.

In fact, themeeting started without his presence and he was only able to join post pressurizingthe concerned officials. Even after the tussle, he was kept away from themeeting, disallowing him access to the reunion as agreed. The spokesperson ofthe MEA also said, from the feedback they had received of the meeting, Mr.Jadhav seemed to be under considerable stress and speaking in an atmosphere ofcoercion. He responded to his mother speaking in Marathi, in Hindi and English,as if stuck to a script. His speech seemed tutored to perpetuate a falsenarrative. His appearance raised sharp questions everywhere of his health, wellbeing and tales of torture in the prison.The ministry also regretted that contrary to assurances, theatmosphere of the meeting was intimidating for the family.

However, they handledthe situation with great courage and fortitude. The manner in which the entirereunion was conducted has seemed to become an attempt to holster a falsenarrative of Kulbhushan Jadhav.The Diplomatic strain captured headlines in India andPakistan.

The reports quoted audience reactions and diplomats defending their stance.Mohammed Faisal, Foreign Office spokesperson, Pakistan has rejected all claimsby India. Faisal told the media, the meeting was arranged only on humanitariangrounds in line with Islamic teachings. It had nothing to do with consular access.A video was sent by Pakistan, where Jadhav is thanking bothgovernments and suspecting signs of torture and harassment by the Indian officials.

This particularly triggered various reporters to re-visit the files of thepast. The Quint published a game-changing report, confirming KulbhushanJadhav was a spy. The report was taken down the next day. The journalist,Chandan Nandy who filed the story is missing or gone hiding. Chandan Nandy isthe Opinion editor of The Quint.

The report spoke of two EX-RAW Chiefs who did not want torecruit Jadhav. Nevertheless, his proposal was accepted by the Chief ofintelligence agency. He was covered as a businessman, who would frequent Iran.Jadhav’s parents were advised not to speak of their son’s case when he wascaptured. The report revealed Jadhav had two passports, the second one withHussein Mubarak Patel as his name. The former officers blame him on his lack ofskills.Indian authorities and media were clearly displeased withthe article, as the retraction was prompt. The claims to be the of human rightsand freedom of speech has unveiled the hypocrisy breathing healthy in India.

Because of this, when the case went to ICJ, it was mostlikely to be in favour of Pakistan after Jadhav’s multiple confessions and TheQuint report. 

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