(G.N.S) Dt. 28
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday led a scathing attack on Pakistan for its “inhumane” behaviour during the meeting between Kulbhushan Jadhav and his mother Avanti and wife Chetna in Islamabad on December 25, saying human rights of the family members of the former Indian Navy officer were violated again and again and an environment of fear was created for them during the entire meet.
“A meeting of a mother with her son and a wife with her husband was turned into a propaganda tool by Pakistan. Jadhav Ji’s mother, who only wears a saree, was forced to wear salwar-kurta. Bindi, bangles and mangalsutras of both mother and wife were removed. Both the married women were made to look like widows. I spoke to her, she told me that as soon as she reached, Kulbhushan asked her ‘Baba kaise hain?’ because he thought a mishap has taken place when he wasn’t around,” Swaraj said while speaking in the Rajya Sabha.
“Kulbhushan Jadhav’s mother was not allowed to speak in Marathi, two Pakistani officials present in the meeting kept stopping her repeatedly but when she continued, the intercom was switched off,” she added.
According to a report in Pakistan’s leading daily, Dawn, Pakistan’s foreign ministry confirmed that a “metallic substance” had been detected in the shoes, which were retained by security officials prior to the meeting between Jadhav and his family members. The shoes were kept for inspection, while all other belongings, including jewellery, were returned, said Pakistan foreign ministry’s official spokesperson Mohammad Faisal, adding that Jadhav’s wife was given another pair of shoes.
Reacting to Pakistan’s claim of removing shoes of Jadhav’s wife for “security measures”, the External Affairs Minister said it was “absurdity beyond measure”. “Even after her repeated attempts, the shoes of Kulbhushan Jadhav’s wife were not returned. Pakistan says there was a camera or a recorder in the shoes, nothing can be more absurd than this as she traveled in two flights with those shoes on. It is an absurdity beyond measure. It was nothing like a humanitarian gesture,” Swaraj said.
The minister also said that the government had earlier successfully stalled Jadhav’s death sentence through a “farcical trial”. She also expressed lament that authorities there allowed media to come close to Jadhav’s family members despite agreement that they would not do so.
In pictures released by Pakistan of the December 25 meeting, Jadhav was seen sitting behind a glass screen while his mother and wife sat on the other side. They spoke through a telephone and the entire 40-minute proceedings appeared to have been recorded on video.
Jadhav, who was captured in March last year, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court for alleged spying, an accusation that India has dismissed as concocted. New Delhi says Jadhav was kidnapped in Iran where he had legitimate business interests, and taken to Pakistan. To save Jadhav, India moved the International Court of Justice, which, in May, ordered Pakistan to stay his execution.