New Delhi, Dec 28: “Pakistan made Kulbhushan Jadhav’s wife and mother appear as widows to him, by forcing them to take off their mangalsutra, bindi and bangles,” said Union minister Sushma Swaraj Thursday in her report to the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha, about the hostile and humiliating meeting on Christmas day.
This was done deliberately, said Swaraj, and was part of the condemnable intimidation by Pakistan of Jadhav’s wife and mother. The external affairs minister also called “an absurdity beyond measure”, Pakistan’s allegation that there was a chip or a camera in Jadhav’s wife Chetankul’s shoes.
“Thank God they didn’t say that there was a bomb in her shoes,” exclaimed the minister.
On Monday, the ministry of external affairs external affairs minister revealed details of the Christmas day meeting of Jadhav – who’s on death row in Pakistan for alleged espionage – with his wife and his mother. The ministry detailed the hours of humiliation faced by Avanti Jadhav and Chetnakul Jadhav, the mother and wife, respectively, of Jadhav.
Swaraj also told the Rajya Sabha 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.
“The first thing Kulbhushan said to me, when I went in to meet him is ‘How is baba’, because he thought something had happened when he saw me without mangalsutra, bindi and bangles,” Avanti explained to Swaraj.
“A meeting of a mother with her son and a wife with her husband was turned into a propaganda tool by Pakistan,” said Swaraj as she mentioned the further humiliation of Avanti by Pakistani officials.
“She (Avanti) wears only saree and she was forced to wear salwar kurta, this was insulting,” explained Swaraj to the House, as it erupted with cries of “shame, shame”.
Jadhav’s wife and mother were both forced to change their clothes.
“The meeting was started in absence of the Deputy High Commissioner, if he would have seen how clothes of the family members were changed, he would have registered protest there and then,” explained Swaraj in the Lok Sabha.
As for Pakistan confiscating the footwear of Jadhav’s wife Chetnakul, because “there was something in it”, Swaraj ridiculed it as an “absurd” allegation.
“She went on two international flights wearing that footwear, none of them found a recorder or a camera like Pakistan is alleging at different times. How is it possible that airlines’ extensive safety checks didn’t find these things?” asked Swaraj.
“Now they’re spreading such lies, like we knew they would, like we suspected they would when they confiscated the shoes. This is an absurdity beyond measure,” said Swaraj.
The minister also called Pakistan’s actions with the shoes an “act of cruelty”.
“If for security reasons she was made to take off shoes, they should have returned them when she was leaving but no, they had to commit some sort of cruelty,” said Swaraj.
The minister reiterated what an MEA spokesman revealed on Monday, about Pakistan breaking an agreement with India to shield the Jadhav family members from the media.
“It was specifically agreed upon by both sides that media will not be allowed to come close to the family but Pakistani press not only came close to them but also harassed them and hurled taunts at them,” said Swaraj.