The government and opposition united on Thursday in condemning and criticising Pakistan over the treatment meted out to the wife and mother of imprisoned India Kulbhushan Jadhav, during a meeting in Islamabad early this week.
Making a statement in both the houses of Parliament on the 25 December meeting between Jadhav and his wife Chetankul and mother Avanti, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj slammed Pakistan for making "absurd" charges of a chip, camera or a recorder being installed in the footwear of his Jadhav’s wife, and said Islamabad was on to a mischief after showing discourtesy towards his family.
She accused Pakistan of conducting the meeting between Jadhav and his mother and wife as a "propaganda exercise" and "an opportunity to exploit the situation", saying it lacked "humanity" and "goodwill". Swaraj made the statement in both houses – first in Rajya Sabha, and then in Lok Sabha.
The Minister condemned the way the Pakistani authorities allowed the meeting at the Foreign Office in Islamabad and asked them to change their clothes and shoes, and remove their bangles and even their "mangalsutras". The first thing that Kulbhushan asked his mother was "what happened to father" after he saw no mangalsutra on his mother.
In the Rajya Sabha, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said the treatment meted out by the Pakistani authorities to Jadhav's wife and mother was "an insult to 130 crore Indians". "The misbehaviour of Pakistan with the wife and the mother of Kulbhushan Jadhav was misbehaviour with all 130 crore Indians,” he said.
"Regardless of political differences, when it comes to the country's dignity and another country misbehaves with our mothers and sisters, it will not be tolerated," said Azad. The Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha also said Pakistan must take responsibility of Jadhav's life as he was in their custody.
Other opposition members also supported the government over the issue. Trinamool Congress' Derek O'Brien said: "We are in complete agreement with every word of what the Minister said. We stand by the statement and support the government on this." Later, all parties endorsed Sushma Swaraj's statement and extended their support to the government.
Swaraj said: "The manner in which the meeting was organised was appalling. Their clothes, shoes, bangles and even their mangalsutras were taken away. Their human rights were violated again and again, and an environment of fear was created for them.”
Swaraj said the meeting between a mother and her son, a wife and her husband "after going through so much was turned into an exercise of propaganda and an opportunity to exploit the situation”. "The family wished to meet Jadhav and we arranged for it. Even Pakistan agreed for it this month. This could have been a step forward for both countries, but this wasn't to be," she said.
She said it was absurd on behalf of Pakistan to suggest there was a mystery chip or camera or recording device planted inside Kulbhushan's wife's shoes. "It is an absurdity beyond measure," she pointed out.