3 February 2023
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ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office (FO) on Sunday expressed grave concern over confirmation of Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) direct involvement in anti-Muslim violence during the horrific Gujarat riots of 2002 that led to killing of over two thousand Muslims.

“The recent statement by the 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,” FO Spokesperson said in a statement.

The statement noted this 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 actions.

The spokesperson said it was most deplorable that the 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,” it added.

The FO pointed out that under BJP rule, India’s treatment of its minorities, especially Indian Muslims, had been discriminatory, degrading, and full of hate and violence.

It also noted that the Indian Supreme Court “handed a clean chit” to Modi this year for his role in the Gujarat riots and shut down as many as 11 petitions, including one filed by the National Human Rights Commission 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 spokesperson added.

It added, “Sadly, the entire Indian legal and administrative machinery was blindly pursuing the Hindutva-driven agenda of the ruling BJP-RSS 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.”

The FO urged India 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.

It also stressed upon the international community, particularly human rights activists and defenders to take serious note of the aggravating situation of Islamophobia in India; and called on Indian government to ensure that the rights of minorities in India, especially Muslims, were safeguarded and their lives protected, it was added.

Abdul Gh Lone

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