Pak officials made Jadhav's wife, mother remove 'mangal sutra'

Pak officials made Jadhav's wife, mother remove 'mangal sutra'

Security officials in Islamabad asked former navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav's mother and wife to remove their 'mangal sutras' before they met him on Monday.

Jadhav's mother Avanti and wife Chetankul were also asked to remove their bangles and 'bindis' and to change their attire before they were allowed to talk him via an intercom.

Pakistani officials kept their ears and eyes open throughout the 40-minute meeting and even repeatedly stopped Avantika from speaking to Jadhav in Marathi.

Islamabad on Monday claimed that its decision to allow Jadhav to meet his family as "a humanitarian gesture", though it portrayed him as the "face of terrorism" India allegedly sponsors in Pakistan.

On Tuesday, New Delhi made public the ordeal the women underwent on Tuesday after they met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and narrated their experience.

New Delhi stated that though Islamabad had promised not to give the media close access to Avanti and Chetankul, they were harassed and hectored by Pakistani journalists.

Some media persons were also allowed on multiple occasions to approach the two women closely and hurl false and motivated accusations against Jadhav, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) stated.

A source said that some people posing as journalists also hurled abuses like 'qatil ki maa' (or mother of a murderer) at Avantika when she and her daughter-in-law were leaving for the Indian High Commission in Islamabad after meeting Jadhav.

New Delhi noted that the "overall atmosphere" of the meeting was "intimidating" for Avantika and Chetankul – contrary to the assurance earlier given by Islamabad.

Chetankul's shoes were not returned after the meeting due to "some inexplicable reasons" and New Delhi cautioned about any "mischievous intent" by Islamabad.

New Delhi said that Jadhav was apparently "under considerable stress and speaking in an atmosphere of coercion" during his meeting with his mother and wife.

"Most of his remarks were clearly tutored and designed to perpetuate the false narrative about his alleged activities in Pakistan. His appearance also raises questions of his health and well being," said Raveesh Kumar, MEA spokesperson.

Another source said that Avanti and Chetankul had noticed scars on Jadhav's head and neck.

Avanti had also asked Jadhav to tell the truth to the Pakistan government that he had business interests at the Chabahar port in Iran and had nothing to do with the allegations against him.

India's Deputy High Commissioner to Pakistan, J P Singh, was allowed to accompany Avantika and Chetankul to the Pakistan Foreign Office.

"The meeting was started without his (Singh) presence and he could join only after pressing the matter with officials concerned. Even then, he was kept behind an additional partition that did not allow him access to the meeting as agreed," said Kumar.

Jadhav has been in Pakistani custody since March 2016 on charges of "spying".

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