Sushma condemns Pak's behaviour towards Jadhav's kin

When former Navy officer Kulbhusan Jadav saw his mother in Islamabad without the traditional mangalsutra, bangles and bindi, the first thought that came to his mind is whether his father had passed away in his absence, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said in a sensational disclosure in both Houses of Parliament on Thursday.

"Bindi, bangles and mangalsutras of both mother and wife were removed. Both the married women were made to look like widows. I spoke to her (Jadhav's mother), she told me that as soon as she reached the meeting room, Kulbhushan asked her 'Baba kaise hain?' because he thought a mishap has taken place when he wasn't around," she said.

In both Houses of Parliament, the foreign minister gave a detailed and stinging account of the harrowing experience that Jadhav's mother and wife faced in Pakistan's capital on Monday, when they flew down to meet Jadhav after 22 months.

Jadhav is a death row convict in Pakistan, whose execution was stayed by the International Court of Justice in May.

Both Houses of Parliament condemned Pakistan's behaviour in unison. In the Lok Sabha, several members were heard sloganeering Pakistan Hai Hai whereas, in the Rajya Sabha, every party supported the government.

"Under the pretext of security precautions, even the attire of the family members was changed. Jadhav's mother, who wears a sari only, was instead given salwar and kurta to wear, when she met her son after 22 months," Sushma said.

India's Deputy High Commissioner J P Singh, who accompanied the two women, was not given access to the room where Jadhav's mother and wife were asked to change.

Otherwise, he would have opposed the move on the spot. Narrating several examples of Pakistan's violation of mutually agreed protocols for the meeting, Sushma said a meeting of a mother with her son and a wife with her husband was turned into a propaganda tool by Pakistan.

The local media was given an opportunity to harass the two women.

"Jadhav's mother wanted to talk to her son in mother tongue Marathi, as this is clearly the natural medium of communication between a mother and son. However, she was not allowed to speak in Marathi. While doing so, she was repeatedly interrupted by the two Pakistani officials present in the meeting. When she persisted, the intercom was closed and she was prevented from proceeding further with the conversation in Marathi," said the minister.

"Both humanity and compassion were missing during the meeting that was arranged on humanitarian and compassionate grounds," she added.

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