India has lost Gandhi’s path, says Qureshi

Updated November 12, 2019

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Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Monday said India had lost the path of Mahatma Gandhi, who preached tolerance and non-violence, and it had now been taken over by extremist Hindu organisation Rashtriya Swayam­sevak Sangh (RSS). — AFP/File
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Monday said India had lost the path of Mahatma Gandhi, who preached tolerance and non-violence, and it had now been taken over by extremist Hindu organisation Rashtriya Swayam­sevak Sangh (RSS). — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Monday said India had lost the path of Mahatma Gandhi, who preached tolerance and non-violence, and it had now been taken over by extremist Hindu organisation Rashtriya Swayam­sevak Sangh (RSS).

He was talking to reporters at the Parliament House on human rights abuses being committed by Indian troops in occupied Kashmir and the growing violence in India in general, including cases of mob lynching, child abuse, rape and sexual oppression and communal intolerance.

His comments were specifically in the context of the Indian Supreme Court’s verdict in the Ayodhya dispute case relating to the site of 16th century Babri Mosque, in which the court ruled in favour of Hindus who want to construct a temple at the site.

The court further ordered setting up of a trust within three months for the construction of the temple.

Babri Mosque was demolished in 1992 by a Hindu mob.

Earlier, in its reaction, the Foreign Office had said that the Indian Supreme Court’s verdict in the Ayodhya dispute had exposed India’s secular face and it had brought into the focus the shrinking space for minorities there.

“India of today is not India of Gandhi and Nehru. It is now Hindustan, which is dominated by supremacist Hindutva ideology. After disregarding Gandhi’s values, secular India has got buried … under RSS ideology,” Mr Qureshi said.

The foreign minister said that Pakistan and India were following two contrasting trajectories as was witnessed on Nov 9 when Pakistan was “setting up a Gurdwara (Sikh worship place)” while India was “demolishing a mosque”.

He said the purpose of establishing the Kartarpur Corridor was to convey to the world that Pakistan was a country that valued religious minorities and offered them complete freedom to practice their religion.

“In contrast you see occupied Kashmir’s Srinagar Jamia mosque that is locked every Friday, Eid prayers are not allowed there, mourning processions during Muharram were banned in the valley and Kashmiris there are barred from holding Eid Miladun Nabi celebrations,” he said, adding that the Indian government by resorting to such actions had deprived the people of the valley of their fundamental rights.

“India’s real face is being exposed before the world as Pakistan tells the world about India’s atrocities in held Kashmir,” Mr Qureshi said.

Published in Dawn, November 12th, 2019