Press "Enter" to skip to content

Protests in India over Pakistan FM’s ‘Butcher of Gujarat’ remark at UN

Members of India’s ruling party have set fire to effigies of Pakistan’s foreign minister, following a war of words between the South Asian rivals at the United Nations.

The nuclear-armed neighbours have had poisoned relations and fought several wars, most of them over disputed Kashmir, since independence from Britain 75 years ago.

This week at the UN in New York, Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar told Pakistan to “try to be (a) good neighbour”, calling the country the “epicentre of terrorism”.

His Pakistani counterpart Bilawal Bhutto Zardari responded by calling India’s Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi the “Butcher of Gujarat”.

“I want to tell India that Osama bin Laden is dead, but the butcher of Gujarat lives and he is the Prime Minister of India,” Zardari said.

“He (PM Modi) was banned from entering this country [USA] until he became the Prime Minister. This is the Prime Minister of the RSS and the Foreign Minister of the RSS. What is the RSS? The RSS takes inspiration from Hitler’s ‘SS’.”

This was in reference to when Modi was chief minister of the state of Gujarat when sectarian riots in 2002 left more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, dead. He was accused of turning a blind eye.

READ MORE: India, Pakistan hurl serious accusations against each other at UN

Protests and war of words

On Friday hundreds of members of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members held a protest outside Pakistan’s High Commission in New Delhi over the remarks.

The BJP announced new protests around the country for Saturday, and in the cities of Bhubaneswar, Amritsar and Ranchi demonstrators set fire to effigies of Zardari and shouted slogans.

On Friday, India’s Foreign Ministry called Zadari’s comments a “new low even for Pakistan”, while quipping that “‘Made in Pakistan’ terrorism had to stop”.

Pakistan on Saturday responded with its own statement saying that the Indian government “has tried to hide behind subterfuge and canard to conceal the realities of the 2002 Gujarat massacre.”

“It is a shameful story of a mass killings, lynching, rape and plunder. The fact of the matter is that the masterminds of the Gujarat massacre have escaped justice and now hold key government positions in India,” the statement added.

Zardari reacted to Indian protests by saying he did not coin the term “Butcher of Gujarat” and “Indian citizens gave this title to him (Modi). So, no matter how much you protest, you cannot change facts.”

The Pakistani foreign minister, according to DAWN news website, said if the purpose of the protests was to scare Pakistan, it would not work. “We are not afraid of RSS. We are not afraid of Mr Modi. We are not afraid of the BJP. If they want to protest, they should.”

READ MORE: Pakistan army chief says ‘ready to take fight back’ to India if war imposed

More from AsiaMore posts in Asia »

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *