Asia - Pacific

Pakistan slams India for linking virus with Muslims

Army spokesman says Indian attempts ‘badly failed’

Islamuddin Sajid   | 25.04.2020
Pakistan slams India for linking virus with Muslims

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan 

Pakistan's army slammed New Delhi for carrying out attacks against Muslims in attempts to link them with the spread of coronavirus in India.

"[The] Indian government, media and RSS [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh] attempted to link the coronavirus with Muslims and Pakistan but their attempt has badly failed," Pakistan Army spokesman Maj. Gen. Babar Iftikhar said at a press conference on state-run Pakistan Television.

The RSS, an ultra-right-wing Hindu nationalist organization, is the ideological arm of the BJP.

The virus has no faith, religion and relationship with anyone, but India tried to use it against innocent Muslims and spread more hatred, he said.

He was referring to Indian authorities' recent actions against Tablighi Jamaat members against whom cases were registered linking the virus with them.

As the Indian authorities had alleged that Tablighi congregation held at its headquarters, known as Markaz in the Nizamuddin locality, had led to the spread of coronavirus.

A massive media campaign led to the criminalization of the group.

While hospitals in India segregated patients based on their religious faith and many facilities denying treatment to Muslims that has led to anger among the international Islamic communities.

"The whole world is battling against coronavirus but extremists and racists in India are promoting terrorism," said Iftikhar.

Since Feb. 26, when the first coronavirus case was reported in Pakistan, the Indian army carried out 456 cease-fire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) and targeted the civilian population, he said.

The LoC is a de facto border that divides the Kashmir valley between Pakistan and India.

"On minor kid died and 31 others, including seven women and eight children, were injured during these 456 cease-fire violations," said the army spokesman.

He claimed Indian forces have moved artillery in civilian areas and used innocent Kashmiris as shields as Pakistani soldiers never fire on civilian areas on the Indian side of Kashmir.

"To create tension on the LoC, show that Indian policies have failed and now trying to divert the public and world attention from their failure," he added.

The Indian Foreign Ministry has not responded to the questions of Anadolu Agency.

But the Indian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said on April 20 that Pakistan was making baseless allegations against its neighbors.

"On the subject of minorities, they would be well advised to address the concerns of their own dwindling minority communities, which have been truly discriminated against,” said Srivastava.

Already fraught relations between the two South Asian nuclear rivals have further flared after India revoked a provision in its Constitution granting special status to Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh regions last August.

India and Pakistan both hold Kashmir in parts and claim it in full. China also controls part of the contested region, but it is India and Pakistan who have fought two wars over Kashmir.

* Shuriah Niazi contributed from New Delhi

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