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Rare show of unity as Sushma recounts Jadhav family's woes

NEW DELHI: Indian prisoner Kulbhushan Jadhav was wondering whether something "bad" had happened back home when he saw his mother without the 'mangalsutra', bindi and bangles when they met in Islamabad on Monday, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Thursday.
The Pakistani authorities had forced Jadhav's mother Avanti and wife Chetna to change their attire and remove their bindi, bangles and mangalsutra before the meeting citing security protocol.
"When I talked to her (Avanti)) she told me that the first question he (Jadhav) asked was - how is Baba (father)? Because he may have feared that something bad had happened," Swaraj said in the Lok Sabha.
However, soon he realised that the 'mangalsutra', bindi and bangles were removed on security grounds when he saw his wife was also not wearing them, she said while describing how Pakistan violated the human rights of the two women.
Typically, a Hindu woman does not wear the 'mangalsutra' and bindi or vermillion after the death of her husband.
She said the removal of the 'mangalsutra' was a height of disrespect as Jadhav's mother had told the Pakistani officials that it was a symbol of marriage, but they did not relent.
In identical statements in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, Swaraj said India had conveyed its objections to Pakistan in a note verbale on Wednesday over the way it had conducted Jadhav's meeting with his mother and wife in Islamabad on Monday.
Swaraj also slammed Pakistan for making "absurd" charges of a chip, camera or a recorder being installed in the footwear of Jadhav's wife.
"At times they say, there was a recorder on it (shoe), at times they say there was a camera, there was a chip. There cannot be a white lie than this. Thank God they did not say there was a bomb inside it," said Swaraj.
The external affairs minister said the shoe was apparently seized so that they can make a "mischief".
"The meeting of Kulbhushan Jadhav with his mother and wife was portrayed by Pakistan as a humanitarian gesture.
However, the truth is that both humanity and compassion were missing during the meeting that was arranged on humanitarian and compassionate grounds," she said.
The minister said Jadhav's mother wanted to speak to his son in Marathi, but Pakistani officials did not allow it.
Reacting to the statement, Congress's Ghulam Nabi Azad said: "This did not happen with Kulbhushan Jadhav's family but every mother and sister in India." Trinamool Congress MP Derek O'Brien said: "We completely endorse every word of the statement and the spirit of the statement."
Lacerated by India over how it treated Kulbhushan Jadhav's family, Pakistan on Thursday called the tightly-controlled meeting of the former naval officer with his wife and mother in Islamabad on Monday a "success despite all impediments".
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