Two key ministers of India and Pakistan were engaged in a Twitter spat over the treatment of minorities in each other’s countries on Sunday after a report emerged that two Hindu girls had been abducted in Pakistan last week.
On Sunday, Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj in a Twitter post said she had asked Indian high commissioner in Islamabad, Ajay Bisaria for a report on the abduction of the two Hindu girls on the eve of the Festival of Colours —Holi.
“I have asked Indian High Commissioner in Pakistan to send a report on this. @IndiainPakistan. Two Hindu girls abducted on Holi eve in Pakistan’s Sindh toi.in/tlMF9b/a24gk via @TOIWorld,” Swaraj said in a post tagging the Times of India report on the abduction.
Acknowledging the minister’s tweet, Indian high commissioner Bisaria responded: “Ma’am, we are aware of this case and sending details shortly. @Ajaybis.”
Hindus constitute a majority in India but a minority in Pakistan while Muslims are a minority in India but a majority in Pakistan.
Swaraj’s action seems to annoyed the Pakistan information minister Chaudhury Fawad Hussain, a key aide of Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan.
“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 color of our flag is equally dearer to us.I hope you ll act with same diligence when it comes to rights of Indian Minorities (sic),” Hussain said in a post responding to Swaraj.
The reported abduction was splashed in the social media of Pakistan that showed the girls’ father protesting in a police station at Dharki town of Ghotki district in Sindh asking for the safe return of his two daughters. According to available reports, two sisters Raveena (13) and Rina (15) were abducted and forced to undergo religious conversion. The Pakistan Hindu Sewa Welfare Trust accused the police of initially refusing to lodge a complaint in the case but did so after the Hindu community came out in protest.
Swaraj in her response slammed Hussain stating that his remark only betrayed Pakistan’s guilty conscience.
“Mr.Minister @fawadchaudhry – 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. @IndiainPakistan,” Swaraj said in her post.
The exchange comes amid a rise in tensions between the two countries after the 14 February Pulwama attack on an Indian security convoy in which 40 personnel were killed. Indian Air Force jets bombed a terrorist training facility inside Pakistan on 26 February. Pakistan responded to this by targeting Indian military installations in Kashmir with Indian and Pakistani jets engaged in a dogfight. India and Pakistan short down a fighter jet each and an Indian Air Force pilot was taken captive by Pakistan after his air craft was shot down in Pakistan controlled Kashmir.
The pilot was handed back to India on 1 March but tensions between the countries ran high with news reports saying that New Delhi was contemplating a missile strike on Pakistan if the pilot had been harmed.
Over the weekend, India boycotted Pakistan’s National Day function in New Delhi and Islamabad over Islamabad’s decision to invite Kashmiri separatist leaders to its events in New Delhi.