Pakistan on Monday strongly condemned the "violent calls" for mass killing of Muslims by Hindutva leaders in India.
Leaders from several far-right groups in India had issued calls for the ethnic cleansing of minorities in the country, especially targeting its 200 million-strong Muslim population, at a recent three-day gathering in the city of Haridwar.
In a statement, Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson Asim Iftikhar Ahmad said that the India Charge d’ Affaires was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad.
The official was asked to convey the government's "serious concerns" to the government in India over the violent hate speeches made at the event.
"It was impressed upon the government of India that it was highly reprehensible that the Hindu Raksha Sena’s Prabodhanand Giri, and other Hindutva figures who called for ethnic cleansing, have neither expressed any regret nor the Indian government has condemned or taken any action against them so far," the FO said.
It was conveyed to the Indian side that the reported hate speeches were viewed with grave concern by civil society and the cross-section of the people of Pakistan and around the world, the statement said.
"Regrettably, the toxic narrative against minorities, particularly Muslims, and their persecution under state patronage has become a norm under the current Hindutva-driven BJP-RSS combine government in India," the FO spokesperson said.
It was reminded to the Indian side that such incitement to violence by Hindutva figures, including ruling party’s elected members, also preceded the anti-Muslim riots in New Delhi in February 2020, the spokesperson said.
"The continued grave violations of human rights of minorities, especially Muslims and their places of worship, anti-Muslim legislations by the union government of India and several BJP-ruled states, and continued incidents of violence against Muslims on flimsy pretexts by Hindutva groups with complete impunity and often under state patronage highlight the worsening trend of Islamophobia and present a grim picture about the fate of Muslims in India.
"Pakistan calls on the international community [...] to hold India accountable for its gross and systematic human rights violations against minorities, particularly Muslims and take immediate measures to save them from impending genocide," he added.
The FO spokesperson said that India was expected to investigate the hate speeches and incidents of widespread violence against minorities, particularly Muslims and their houses of worship, and take measures to stop such incidents from recurring in the future.
"Pakistan also urged India to ensure the safety, security and well-being of its minorities including protection of their religious places and way of life," the statement concluded.
'Hate speech conclave'
A report by The Quint said that the "hate speech conclave" was organised by Hindutva leader Yati Narsinghanand from December 17 to 19 in Uttarakhand's pilgrimage city of Haridwar, where multiple calls to kill minorities and attack their religious spaces were made.
"Economic boycott won't work. Hindu groups need to update themselves. Swords look good on stage only. This battle will be won by those with better weapons," the report quoted Narsinghanand as saying.
"Like Myanmar, our police, our politicians, our army and every Hindu must pick up weapons and conduct a safayi abhiyan (clean-up). There is no other option left," Swami Prabodhanand Giri, president of the Hindu Raksha Sena, was quoted as saying by NDTV.
Sadhvi Annapurna, the general secretary of the political party Hindu Mahasabha, also gave a call to arms and incitement to genocide.
“Nothing is possible without weapons. If you want to eliminate their population, then kill them. Be ready to kill and be ready to go to jail. Even if 100 of us are ready to kill 20 lakhs of them (Muslims), then we will be victorious, and go to jail," The Wire quoted her as saying.