NEW DELHI: Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday claimed that Pakistan ‘violated human rights’ of Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav’s family when they were in Pakistan recently on a meeting with Jadhav, as reported by Times of India.
While addressing the Indian Parliament, Swaraj accused Pakistan of using the emotional reunion after 22 months as a propaganda tool, adding that there was ‘violation after violation of human rights’ by the Pakistani authorities.
She said that Pakistan made Kulbhushan Jadhav’s wife and mother appear as “widows” to him by forcing them to take off their mangalsutra, bindi and bangles.
This was done deliberately, alleged Swaraj, and was part of the “condemnable intimidation” by Pakistan of Jadhav’s wife and mother. The external affairs minister also said that Pakistan’s allegation that there was a chip or a camera in Jadhav’s wife Chetankul’s shoes was “an absurdity beyond measure”.
“Thank God they didn’t say that there was a bomb in her shoes,” exclaimed the minister.
On Monday, the Indian ministry of external affairs revealed details of the Christmas day meeting of Jadhav – who’s on death row in Pakistan for being a spy – with his wife and his mother. The ministry detailed the “hours of humiliation” faced by Avanti Jadhav and Chetnakul Jadhav, the mother and wife, respectively, of Jadhav.
Swaraj also told the Rajya Sabha that she spoke with Jadhav’s mother Avanti who explained how “they made her remove her suhaag ki nishani, (symbols of marriage)”.
“I begged them saying I’ve never taken off mangalsutra ever, but they said I have to. The first thing Kulbhushan asked me when I went in to meet him was ‘How is baba’, because he thought something had happened when he saw me without mangalsutra, bindi and bangles,” Jadhav’s mother allegedly had said to Swaraj, the minister recounted.
Swaraj also said that Jadhav’s mother only wears saree but she “was forced to wear shalwar kurta, which was insulting.”
“The meeting started in the absence of the Deputy High Commissioner, who would have registered a protest right there and then, had he seen how clothes of the family members were changed,” explained Swaraj in the Lok Sabha.
Kulbhushan Jadhav was sentenced to death by a military court in Pakistan in April.
On Tuesday, India had accused Pakistan of violating the conditions it had laid down for the meeting between Jadhav and his family members. MEA had said Jadhav’s responses were tutored and the entire exercise “lacked any credibility”. It had also said that Jadhav was under “considerable stress and speaking in an atmosphere of coercion”.
On Wednesday, the Foreign Office in a statement had categorically rejected Indian allegations that the meeting of Kulbhushan Jadhav with his mother and wife, was conducted in an “intimidating” atmosphere as “baseless and twisted”.
“We do not wish to indulge in a meaningless battle of words. Our openness and transparency belies these allegations. If Indian concerns were serious, the guests or the Indian [diplomat] should have raised them during the visit with the media, which was readily available, but at a safe distance, as requested by India,” the statement had said.
“There was something in the shoe. It is being investigated. We gave her a pair of replacement shoes. All her jewellery etc. were returned after the meeting,” Foreign Office Spokesperson Mohammad Faisal had said.
India in a statement had accused the Pakistani authorities of making the mother and wife of the death row prisoner remove their bindi, mangalsutra and bangles ahead of the meeting.
The Foreign Office statement recalled that Jadhav’s mother “publicly thanked Pakistan for the humanitarian gesture” in front of the media, adding: “Nothing more needs to be said.”