We categorically reject the Indian Ministry of External Affairs’ unwarranted and gratuitous remarks on an incident involving the statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in Lahore.

It is highly hypocritical of a country that is purveyor of state-sponsored discrimination against its minorities to pontificate on the issue of minority rights elsewhere. A mature state would have appreciated the immediate arrest of the accused against whom strict legal action has already been initiated.

The government, legislature, judiciary, civil society and the media in Pakistan have always worked for ensuring constitutional protections for members of minorities as equal citizens and their places of worship, whereas in India incidents against minorities take place with state complicity.

Rather than feigning concern for minorities elsewhere, India should seriously introspect, move away from entrenched anti-minority mindset being destructively spawned by the RSS-BJP regime, and discard state-sponsored discriminatory policies. India must ensure safety, protection and well-being of the minorities, including Muslims, and take effective steps for the protection of their places of worship, culture and heritage sites.

18 August 2021

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