‘Bizarre’: India dismisses Pak PM’s tweet on discrimination against Muslims
India on Sunday rejected criticism by Pakistan’s top leadership of the “deliberate and violent targeting of Muslims”, saying such remarks were an attempt to shift focus from Islamabad’s “abysmal handling” of its internal affairs.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) had criticised what they described as the deliberate targeting of Muslims by the Indian government against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic.
External Affairs Ministry’s spokesperson Anurag Srivastava rejected the criticism by saying: “The bizarre comments by the Pakistani leadership are an attempt to shift focus from the abysmal handling of their internal affairs. Instead of concentrating on fighting Covid-19, they are making baseless allegations against their neighbours.”
In a reference to incidents of the oppression of Pakistan’s Hindu minority, Srivastava said, “On the subject of minorities, they would be well advised to address the concerns of their own dwindling minority communities, which have been truly discriminated against.”
Khan had followed up on tweets by the Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission of the OIC and compared the Indian government’s treatment of Muslims to “what Nazis did to Jews in Germany”.
“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,” Khan tweeted.
In a tweet, President Arif Alvi, a close aide of Khan, accused the Indian government of suppressing the Kashmiri people through “extreme violence, torture and oppression”.
In recent months, Khan has repeatedly criticised the Indian government’s attitude towards the country’s Muslim minority and the external affairs ministry has pushed back against his remarks, describing them as interference in India’s internal affairs. The Indian side has also targeted Khan for failing to counter cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistani soil.
The OIC’s Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission had, in a string of tweets, condemned what it described as the “unrelenting vicious Islamophobic campaign in India maligning Muslims for spread of #Covid-19 as well as their negative profiling in media subjecting them to discrimination & violence with impunity”.
It urged the “Indian government to take urgent steps to stop the growing tide of #Islamophobia in the country and protect the rights of its persecuted Muslim minority as per its obligations under (international human rights) law”.
India’s foreign minister was invited as a special guest to a meeting of foreign ministers of OIC states in the UAE last year, marking a high point in New Delhi’s often testy relations with the Islamic grouping.
However, in recent months, the OIC has repeatedly criticised the Indian government’s handling of the situation in Kashmir and attacks on Muslims. The external affairs ministry has rejected this criticism.