India rejects Pakistan’s condemnation of start of work on Ram Mandir in Ayodhya
India on Thursday rejected Pakistan’s condemnation of the start of construction of the Ram Mandir Ayodhya, saying the neighbouring country had no locus standi on the issue.
Pakistan had on Wednesday condemned the start of work on the Ram Mandir amid the Covid-19 pandemic, describing it as part of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) efforts to advance a “Hindutva agenda”. It also contended the Indian Supreme Court’s ruling on the Babri Masjid-Ram Mandir issue last year was “controversial” and “failed to uphold the demands of justice”.
Responding to Pakistan’s statement, external affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said, “We have seen an absurd statement by Pakistan on a matter on which it has no locus standi.”
He added, “India is a nation served by the rule of law and which guarantees equal rights to all faiths. Pakistan’s Foreign Office may take time out and read their own constitution to realise the difference.”
Pakistan had also said the Indian Supreme Court’s verdict “shredded the veneer of so-called secularism” and made it clear “minorities are not safe in India”.
But Srivastava said: “Given its record, Pakistan should be embarrassed to even mention minorities. After all, numbers don’t lie even if they do.
“As for the judiciary, Pakistan must realise that theirs is thankfully not the norm. There are others elsewhere with credibility and integrity that Pakistan understandably finds difficult to recognise.”
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has repeatedly targeted India in recent weeks for its handling of the Kashmir issue and the treatment of the country’s minorities. India has rebuffed such criticism and said Pakistan should focus on ending terrorism emanating from its soil and the harassment of its minorities.
Ending a decades-old dispute, the Supreme Court had in November last year paved the way for building a Ram Mandir by a trust at the site in Ayodhya.