New Delhi, Dec. 28 (TNS): India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday told the Rajya Sabha that confessions made by convicted Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav to his family during their visit were made under duress.
The statement comes hours after the Indian media stated that Jadhav had confessed to his family that he was indeed a spy.
However, Sushma contested the statement saying that Pakistani authorities forced him to say so.
She also accused Pakistan of using the visit as a propaganda tool and of harassing Jadhav’s family.
Jadhav’s mother Avanti and wife Chetna met him in Islamabad on December 25 after Pakistan permitted the visit on humanitarian grounds following India’s request.
Speaking in the Rajya Sabha, Swaraj said India has communicated its response to Pakistan on what it sees as violation of their mutual agreement.
She said the two countries had agreed to not allow the media to cover the visit but Jadhav’s wife was harassed and heckled at by journalists.
She told the upper house of the Indian parliament that Pakistani authorities forced Jadhav’s wife and mother to take off their Mangul Sutars (traditional necklace worn by married Hindu women) under the pretext of security.
The minister dismissed as “abusrd” Pakistan’s claim that a chip was planted in Jadhav’s wife’s shoes.
Swaraj also accused Pakistan of not respecting cultural sensitivities, saying Jadhav’s mother was forced to change her dress — from the sari to shalwar kameez. She added that Pakistani officials did not let the mother and son talk in their mother tongue Marathi, even though it was ‘their first meeting in 22 months’.
Jadhav met his mother and wife for the first meeting since his arrest from Balochistan last year on charges of espionage and terrorism.
He was tried by a military court and awarded the death penalty.
The Indian government has taken the matter to the International Court Justice, which has stayed his execution.