India on Wednesday slammed Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s remarks on minorities and the Kashmir issue, saying that it was ironic that Pakistan, which has itself “committed a grievous violation of minority rights,” was raking up the issue of rights of minorities.
Speaking at the UN High-Level Meeting on the Rights of Minorities on Wednesday, Srinivas Gotru, India’s Joint Secretary of UNES (UN Economic and Social), hit back at Bhutto’s comments, saying “It is ironic that Pakistan is speaking about the rights of minorities. For a country that has even stopped publishing its data to hide its same shameful record, it is amazing that they have even brought up this subject. It has a long history of having committed a grievous violation of minority rights that the world has ever seen.”
Adding that Pakistan continues to commit grave violations of the rights of Sikh, Hindu, Christian, and Ahmadi communities, Gotru said that thousands of women and children from minority communities have been subjected to abductions, forced marriages and conversions in Pakistan.
“The entire Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh were, are and will always be an integral and inalienable part of India, irrespective of what the representative of Pakistan believes or covets. We call on Pakistan to stop cross-border terrorism so that our citizens can exercise their right to life, and liberty. We hope that they will desist from attempts to abuse and politicize such meetings,” he said.
Gotru was referring to a claim made by Bhutto at the UN that India is transforming into a Hindu supremacist state. “Today, one of the worst manifestations of such Islamophobia is in Hindutva-inspired India. Driven by the ideology of hate against Muslims, the (ruling) BJP-RSS regime is executing its century-old plan to obliterate India’s Islamic legacy and to transform India into an exclusive Hindu state,” Bilawal said.
“India is a multi-lingual, multi-ethnic and multi-religious society. The Constitution of India guarantees the protection and promotion of the rights of all minority communities,” Gotru said in his speech.
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