Islamabad    -    As oppression of security forces in the Indian occupied Kashmir continues, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday said that the illegal annexation of occupied Kashmir is part of a wider policy of the right-wing BJP government in India to target Muslims.

Referring to reports in Indian and international media regarding the contentious National Register of Citizens (NRC), he said that at least 1.9 million people belonging to ethnic minorities, many of them Muslims, have been declared illegal residents in India’s north-eastern state of Assam.

In a tweet, the prime minister said that the Modi government’s ethnic cleansing of Muslims should set alarm bells ringing across the world. Khan tagged a story of NDTV with his tweet about Indian government’s move against the ethnic minorities.

Prime Minister also tagged another article appearing in the United Kingdom daily ‘The Times’ under headline “No papers, no rights: how Modi plans to oust millions of ‘foreigners’ who have lived in India all their lives.”

Indian government Saturday released a list of the legal citizens of the north-eastern state which excluded 1.9 million people, most of whom are said to have migrated from bordering Bangladesh decades ago.

Thousands of such people have been detained and are being kept in make-shift camps or prisons. The process has been termed mere a witch-hunt against ethnic minorities as tens of thousands of paramilitary personnel and police had been posted across bordering Bangladesh.

The so-called final NRC list has been released just weeks after New Delhi struck down the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir’s decades-old autonomy.

The last time a draft of NRC list was released, in 2018, 4.1 million people were left off, putting them at risk of being made stateless. Majority of them were poor and illiterate, and many of them belonged to members of the Muslim minority.

Observers are worried that the final list will result in families being split up, incarcerated, and even being chased out to Bangladesh – a country many have never set foot in.

And rights groups are worried that the list could set off a chain of events similar to the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar in 2017, when roughly 750,000 members of the Muslim Rohingya minority were persecuted, stripped of their Burmese citizenship and forced to flee to Bangladesh.

Others fear that this is the start of a disturbing trend. Modi’s Home Minister Amit Shah has promised to expel “infiltrators” from the rest of India, using Assam as a testing ground.

On Friday, while addressing a rally here in the capital city during the Kashmir Hour, Prime Minister Imran Khan urged the world to wake up to this terrifying trend in India, where the BJP-led government following RSS ideology has intensified its offensive against the minorities.

The prime minster also condemned India’s illegal annexation of Occupied Kashmir on August 5 and the clampdown which is continuing in the Valley since then. He said the entire Pakistani nation stands by their Kashmiri brethren.

Pakistanis, on the appeal of Prime Minister Khan, came out in droves to observe ‘Kashmir Hour’ from 12pm to 12:30pm on Friday to express solidarity with the Kashmiris.

“Today, all of Pakistanis, wherever there are and whether there are students or shopkeepers or labourers — today all of us are standing with our Kashmiri brethren,” the prime minister said.

“Our Kashmiris are going through a very tough time”, he said, adding that the ideology of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) had taken over India... the way the Nazi party had taken over Germany”.

“They (Hindu extremists) think that Muslims should be taught a lesson, that they are not equal citizens. Today, the whole world is seeing what is happening in Kashmir... Forget the media; they (fascist Modi government) did not let even Indian opposition leaders go to Srinagar.”

Prime Minister Imran Khan said he has conveyed to all foreign leaders that if the international community does not stand up to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “fascist government”, the effect would be felt in the whole world.

He reiterated that if India planned to take any action in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, “every brick will be countered with a stone”.

The premier called attention to the fact that Kashmirs in IoK were under curfew for nearly four weeks. He thanked the people of Pakistan on demonstrating their solidarity with the Kashmiris in the IoK.

“The message from Pakistan that sent today (Friday) is that until our Kashmiris don’t get independence, the people of Pakistan will stand with them.”