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Iran Press TV

Islamabad, New Delhi spar over treatment of minorities, virus response

Iran Press TV

Monday, 20 April 2020 8:09 AM

Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan says the government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is deliberately targeting Muslims in India to divert attention from its poor response to the coronavirus epidemic.

Khan said in a tweet on Sunday that Modi's government response to the outbreak had left thousands of Indians stranded and hungry.

"The deliberate & violent targeting of Muslims in India by Modi Govt to divert the backlash over its COVID19 policy, which has left thousands stranded & hungry, is akin to what Nazis did to Jews in Germany," he tweeted.

A spokesperson for the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Anurag Srivastava, later called Khan's accusations "baseless" and an attempt at shifting focus from Pakistan's "abysmal handling" of its internal affairs.

Srivastava said the Pakistani leader had better focus on the treatment of minorities in Pakistan. He did not explain.

"Instead of concentrating on fighting COVID19, they are making baseless allegations against their neighbors," the Indian official said, referring to the Pakistani leadership.

India has reported 17,615 coronavirus cases and 559 deaths. To fight the epidemic, Modi's government earlier imposed a nationwide lockdown that largely confined the entire 1.3-billion-strong population of the country to their homes.

Pakistan has a much lower 8,418 tally for infections, and has reported 176 deaths.

Tensions have been escalating between the two nuclear rivals since India revoked a provision of its constitution that had granted semi-autonomy to the Indian-administered section of the disputed Kashmir region.

Kashmir has been disputed between India and Pakistan since their partition in 1947. The two countries have fought three wars over the Himalayan region, currently divided between them by the Line of Control (LoC).

India accuses Pakistan of allowing militants into the Indian-administered side to conduct attacks.

Troops from the two countries also sometimes exchange fire across the LoC.

Last week, four civilians, including a two-year-old boy, were killed during an exchange of fire between troops from Pakistan and India.

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