Sushma in Twitter spat with Pak minister on conversion

Sushma in Twitter spat with Pak minister on conversion

Sushma Swaraj

A Twitter spat between Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and a Pakistani minister on Sunday further added to the ongoing chill in bilateral relations that nosedived since the Pulwama terror attack last month.

It all began with Sushma tweeting a news report on the abduction of two Hindu girls on the eve of Holi in Pakistan's Sindh province. “I have asked Indian High Commissioner in Pakistan to send a report on this,” she commented.

The tweet received a prompt response from Pakistan's Information and Broadcasting Minister Ch Fawad Hussain. “Mam its Pakistin internal issue and rest assure its not Modi’s India where minorities are subjugated. Its Imran Khan’s Naya Pak where white colour of our flag is equally dearer to us. I hope you will act with same diligence when it comes to rights of Indian Minorities (sic),” he said.

Sushma countered immediately. “Mr Minister — I only asked for a report from Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad about the kidnapping and forced conversion of two minor Hindu girls to Islam. This was enough to make you jittery. This only shows your guilty conscience,” she said, tagging the Pakistan minister and the Indian High Commission.

Sources said that cases of abduction of Hindu girls from the lower socio-economic strata are repeated in the districts of Mirpurkhas, Tharparkar and Umerkot in Sindh, close to the Indian border, from time to time, many of which go unreported.

These three districts — Mirpurkhas (33% Hindus), Tharparkar (36%) and Umerkot (49%) — contribute to the significant Hindu community in Sindh.

While a 2014 report from the Movement for Solidarity and Peace estimated that nearly 1,000 non-Muslim girls are forcibly converted to Islam in Pakistan every year, the issue had become a burning topic in the Sindh region in recent times due to an increasing wave of fundamentalism, as seen from the rise in the number of madrassas by various Islamic outfits preaching Salafi ideology — a religious-political ideology based on a belief in "physical" jihadism.

Hussain responded to Sushma's last comments with reference to the treatment meted out to Muslims in Gujarat and Jammu in the past.

“Madam Minister I am happy that in the Indian administration we have people who care for minority rights in other countries. I sincerely hope that your conscience will allow you to stand up for minorities at home as well. Gujarat and Jammu must weigh heavily on your soul,” he wrote.