SP leader sparks row with 'terrorist' comments on Kulbhushan Jadhav

SP leader sparks row with 'terrorist' comments on Kulbhushan Jadhav

The Opposition's plans to corner the Modi government on its handling of Kulbhushan Jadhav issue suffered a setback with Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agarwal's comments on the former Indian Navy officer.

"If Jadhav is a terrorist for Pakistan, they will treat him like one," Agarwal told reporters on Wednesday even as the Congress and other Opposition parties tried to put the government in the dock on the ill-treatment of Jadhav's mother and wife during their visit to Islamabad.

The SP leader appeared to justify the treatment meted out the Jadhav's family in Pakistan.

The Congress also hit out at the Ministry of External Affairs for the "inhuman treatment" meted out to Jadhav's family. "The MEA should have ensured what kind of protocol is arranged for the family. It is a diplomatic failure on part of the MEA and the country," senior Congress leader M Veerappa Moily was quoted as saying.

In the Lok Sabha, leader of the Congress Mallikarjun Kharge demanded that Jadhav be brought back to India.

Union Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir described Agarwal's remarks as unfortunate. "An Indian citizen speaks like this. He can protest against the government as he is in the Opposition but this is seen as a protest against the nation," Ahir told reporters here.

BJP spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao said the SP leader's comments were   "symptomatic of betrayal of national interest by the Congress-led UPA over Pakistan. He wondered whether the SP leader was desperately trying to challenge Mani Shankar Aiyar as the "chief anti-India propagandist".

With Agarwal's comments threatening to dominate the Opposition voice, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad issued a strong protest on the manner in which Jadhav's family was treated in Pakistan.

"This is not an insult to the mother and wife of Kulbhushan Jadhav but an insult to India… We are Indians first and then opposition members. We would like to discuss and show our displeasure on the floor of the house on Thursday," Azad said, adding that he and several other Opposition leaders have given notices to raise this issue in the Rajya Sabha.

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