Khan told the annual United Nations gathering of world leaders that Islamophobia ruled India and threatened the nearly 200 million Muslims who live there. He also criticized other countries' "targeting of Muslims" in the name of free speech.
“They believe that India is exclusive to Hindus and others are not equal citizens,” he said in a prerecorded speech to the UN General Assembly being held virtually over several days amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Khan has frequently criticized the August 2019 decision by the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to strip Jammu and Kashmir’s statehood, scrap its separate constitution and remove inherited protections on land and jobs.
Indian UN representative, TS Tirumurti, said on Twitter that Khan's speech was “a new diplomatic low" full of “vicious falsehood". He said his country would offer a further rebuttal, when it would have an opportunity to reply under UN rules.
India’s action and a security clampdown that followed have sparked protests. UN-appointed independent experts have called on it to take urgent action.
Residents of the heavily militarized Indian-controlled region of Kashmir say security forces have arrested thousands of young men, raided people's homes, inflicted beatings and electric shocks, and threatened to take away and marry their female relatives. Thousands of protesters over the past year have been wounded by shotgun pellets, including hundreds blinded in one or both eyes. For seven months, until March, the area was under a communications blackout, with social media and internet access banned.
“The international community must investigate these grave violations and prosecute the Indian civil and military personnel involved in state terrorism and serious crimes against humanity,” Khan said.
On Friday relatives of a prominent Kashmir lawyer said he had been killed at home in Srinagar by unidentified gunmen. Two men posing as clients opened fire when Babar Qadri came to greet them, they said.
Qadri, in his late 30s, was an outspoken debater on Indian television news channels where he would seek to defend Kashmir’s right to self-determination.
Police blamed militants fighting against Indian rule and said they had formed a special team to investigate.
The larger Kashmir region is split between India and Pakistan. The nuclear-armed neighbors have fought two wars over the territory. India accuses Pakistan of arming and training insurgents fighting for independence. Pakistan denies the charge and says it offers only diplomatic and moral support to the rebels.
Khan, as he did in his speech before the world body last year, also condemned the targeting of Muslims in many countries. He noted provocations and incitement, such as the Quran being burnt or offensive depictions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), that took place in the name of free speech.