'If Israel can...': Indian diplomat's bizarre Kashmir-Palestine parallel sparks controversy

A recent video that has gained momentum on social media shows Sandeep Chakravorty, the Consul General of India in New York comparing the Indian Government's decision on Jammu and Kashmir to Israel and Palestine -- something the Ministry of External Affairs has strongly rejected.

He was speaking at a private event for members of the Kashmiri Hindu diaspora. Other eminent personalities in attendance included Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri, Anupam Kher and Rakesh Kaul.

"Somebody in the audience spoke about Jewish issue... the Israel issue... they kept their culture alive for 2,000 years outside their land. I think we have to keep the Kashmiri culture alive. The Kashmiri culture is the Indian culture...it is the Hindu culture," he can be heard saying in the video.

"...we in India think about everyone... all faiths and all peoples... but unfortunately not everybody thinks that way. We should think like everybody else and then only will we beat them at their game," he said to a round of applause.

He also favoured the Central government's decision to bring Kashmir under their direct rule. Twitter users saw the video as implying a need for a Hindu culture in Kashmir, and not everyone was pleased.

It did not help that Chakravorty then went on to compare the situation to the Middle East.

"We already have a model in the world in the Middle East... if the Israeli people can do it..." he said.

In an oblique reference to Pakistan he suggested that those who were upset with us over this decision should go to "Syria or Iraq or Afghanistan and take photos".

"Why come here? They are unhappy that we are asserting ourselves," he said to more applause.

In a reference to terrorism and violence in Kashmir, Mr Chakravorty said: "We will not go because of fear of life? That will go away. Give us some time".

"I believe, in my lifetime, we will have our land back and our people will go back. Our Kashmiri bhai-log are living in refugee camps... they must go back," he added.

Watch the video below:

Live from NY. With Kashmiri Hindu diaspora, Anupam Kher, Rakesh Kaul and Consul General of India Sandeep Chakraborty. A...

Posted by Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri on Saturday, November 23, 2019

Chakravorty, a member of the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) since 1996, has served in India’s Missions in Spain, Colombia, Bangladesh and Peru. Prior to his current posting, he was the Ambassador of India to Peru and Bolivia. Earlier he had been India’s Deputy Chief of Mission in Bangladesh.

In India’s Ministry of External Affairs he has held several positions including Press Relations Officer, Staff Officer to Minister of State and worked on desks dealing with Central Asia, East Asia and China.

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