Pakistan expressed grave concern on Sunday over the confirmation of direct involvement of the leadership of India’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the horrific Gujarat riots that killed more than 2,000 Muslims in 2002.
In a press release, the Foreign Office spokesperson urged the Indian government to immediately constitute an independent commission of inquiry to bring the culprits of the horrific Godhra incident, as well as the Gujarat riots, to justice.
The 2002 Gujarat riots were a three-day period of inter-communal violence in the Indian state of Gujarat, which started after the death of 58 Hindu pilgrims, coming back from Ayodhya, in a train fire in Godhra on 27 February 2002.
The violence broke out when current Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the state chief minister. More than 2,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in the pogrom. Besides, many rapes were also reported as well as widespread looting and destruction of property.
The Foreign Office said that “the recent statement by former chief minister of Gujarat, Shankersinh Vaghela, has confirmed Pakistan’s long-standing assertion that the BJP-led government under the incumbent prime minister was directly responsible for fomenting violence and massacre of Muslims”.
“This [statement] has been further corroborated indirectly by the Indian home minister, who recently claimed that those responsible for Gujarat riots had been “taught a lesson” and “permanent peace” had been established in Gujarat by BJP’s decisive actions,” the spokesperson added.
Also read: Modi ‘taught lesson to anti-social elements’ in Gujarat: Indian minister
The Foreign Office urged the international community, particularly human rights activists and defenders to take serious note of the aggravating situation of Islamophobia in India. It called on the Indian government to ensure that the rights of the minorities, especially Muslims, were safeguarded and their lives were protected.
“It is most deplorable that crimes against humanity, targeting Muslims, were perpetrated solely for BJP’s political gains. Regrettably, the BJP once again seeks to cash in on its divisive policies two decades after the Gujarat tragedy,” the press release added.
In June, the Indian Supreme Court handed a clean chit to the current prime minister, the then chief minister of Gujarat, for his role in the 2002 Gujarat pogrom. The court shut down as many as 11 petitions, including one filed by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India, seeking an independent probe into the riots.
“It is an undeniable fact that India’s incumbent prime minister had been banned from entering countries such as the United States till 2014, because of his abysmal human rights record as chief minister of the Gujarat state,” the Foreign Office spokesperson said.
“Sadly, the entire Indian legal and administrative machinery is blindly pursuing the Hindutva-driven agenda of the ruling BJP-RSS [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh] nexus, where perpetrators of hate and violence were protected by law and enjoyed exalted status, whereas religious minorities were constantly threatened and denied the freedom to practice their faith without fear, while their lives, property and places of worship remained under threat of violation,” the spokesperson added.
(WITH INPUT FROM APP)
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