TEHRAN – Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has supported Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s stance on the wave of organized violence against Indian Muslims.
“Fully share the concerns expressed by my brother Javad Zarif on the safety and well-being of Indian Muslims facing naked violence from RSS mobs. India is in throes of grave communal violence. Their sinister and systematic killing of Muslims is inhuman and dangerous for the whole region,” Qureshi tweeted on Tuesday.
In a tweet on Monday, Zarif condemned violence against Indian Muslims.
“For centuries, Iran has been a friend of India. We urge Indian authorities to ensure the wellbeing of ALL Indians and not let senseless thuggery prevail,” Zarif said.
“Path forward lies in peaceful dialogue and rule of law,” he added.
Iran’s Ambassador to India Ali Chegeni was summoned on Tuesday to the Indian Foreign Ministry over Zarif’s tweet.
According to Press TV, the Indian sources said: “a strong protest was lodged over the comments made by Javad Zarif on a matter internal to India.”
The Indian Foreign Ministry issued a demarche to the Iranian ambassador, claiming that the remarks by Zarif were “totally uncalled for and unacceptable,” according to a person familiar with the development.
During his meeting with the Indian Foreign Ministry’s director-general for political affairs, Chegeni noted that India is famous among Iranians as the land of peaceful co-existence.
He expressed hope that all Indian citizens would enjoy “peace and friendship” through wise decisions by the Indian government and officials.
According to Press TV, anti-Muslim violence began in India amid widespread protests over a citizenship law that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government introduced in December, offering a path to Indian citizenship for six religious groups from neighboring countries, specifically excluding Muslims.
Critics insist the law is discriminatory, coming in the wake of other severe government measures against the country’s Muslim population such as withdrawal of autonomy for Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir province that has intensified discord across India about the future of its 200 million Muslims.
Over 40 people were declared killed by Hindu mobs this week, with hundreds more reported injured amid news accounts of largely useless police intervention to end the violence and meager international criticism of New Delhi’s failure to protect its minority Muslim population.
According to the UK-based Independent newspaper, Hindu nationalist mobs roamed the streets of New Delhi on February 23, “burning and looting mosques together with Muslim homes, shops and businesses.”
“They killed or burned alive Muslims who could not escape and the victims were largely unprotected by the police,” the daily added in a Friday article, underlining that dozens of Muslims “were killed and many others beaten half to death” – including a two-year-old baby that was “stripped by a gang to see if he was circumcised, as Muslims usually are but Hindus are not.”