BJP spokesperson denounced after mocking photo of dead Kashmiri citizen

Joe Wallen
Kashmiri Muslims offer funeral prayers near the coffin of Bashir Ahmad Khan - Shutterstock

The picture shows a tearful three-year old child squatting on the chest of his dead grandfather.

While to many Indians it was an image of desolation, and the human toll of the long-running tensions in Kashmir, to the spokesperson of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) it was an opportunity to mock the overwhelmingly Muslim population of the region.

Sambit Patra tweeted the photo, which occurred in the aftermath of a rebel attack in the town of Sopore, with the caption "Pulitzer Lovers ??"

Members of the Hindu-nationalist BJP have sneered at Kashmiris for their excitement over the victory of three Kashmiris in the feature photography section of the Pulitzer Prize earlier this year, suggesting they have little else to cling to in their poverty and violence-stricken region.

At least 80 civilians have been killed during fighting between the Indian Army and pro-independence insurgents in 2019.

“If a single tweet could capture the utter moral destitution that Modi has wrought in India, this is it,” tweeted the author Aatish Taseer.

“Here is his party spokesman glorifying in the sight of a little boy with the body of his dead grandfather, killed in crossfire in Kashmir”.

Conflict has raged in Kashmir between Indian Army soldiers and militants fighting for independence - Dar Yasin/AP

The family of Bashir Ahmed Khan say that he died after he left his home in Srinagar and travelled to Sopore for work. 

In an emotional interview with the Asian News Hub, his daughter claims he was taken out of his car and shot dead by Indian paramilitaries.

The allegations were “baseless”, refuted Indian paramilitary spokesman Junaid Khan.

Mr. Ahmed Khan's nephew told AFP the shocking photo had been staged by the Indian troops.

“Locals said that he (Khan) was brought out of his car and shot dead by the forces,” said Farooq Ahmed.

“They told us that someone in uniform then put the child on his chest as he lay dead on the road and took photographs”.

Hundreds of people in Indian-administered Kashmir staged protests after the killing, shouting “We want freedom” from Indian rule at Mr Ahmed Khan's funeral.

*Initial reports detailed that Mr. Khan had left his house to purchase milk but this has since been updated and corrected

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