New Delhi: Pakistan made Kulbhushan Jadhav’s wife and mother appear as widows to him, by forcing them to take off their mangalsutra, bindi and bangles, when they met in Islamabad, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said in a stinging statement in parliament on the way the family was treated in Pakistan.
“The first question that Kulbhushan Jadhav asked his mother during their meeting in Pakistan was – is Baba (father) ok? Because looking at his mother like this, he thought something had happened.”
Swaraj also told the Rajya Sabha today that she spoke with Jadhav’s mother Avanti this morning and she explained, her voice choking with tears, how they made her remove her “suhaag ki nishani”, or “symbols of marriage”.
“I begged them saying I’ve never taken off mangalsutra ever, but they said I have to,” said Jadhav’s mother to Swaraj, the minister recounted.
Swaraj said Pakistan used the emotional reunion after 22 months as a propaganda tool.
“There was violation after violation of human rights. Pakistan should be condemned in the strongest words for this behaviour,” said the minister.
Jadhav, 47, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court in April on charges of espionage and terrorism. In May this year, the International Court of Justice had halted his execution on India’s appeal.
Pakistan claims its security forces arrested Jadhav from restive Balochistan province on March 3 last year after he reportedly entered from Iran. However, India maintains that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Indian Navy.