New Delhi: Amid the brouhaha over Pakistan using Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s name in its letter to the United Nations over the alleged human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir, the mention of two other politicians — this time from the ruling BJP — seems to have been lost in the din.
The letter, under a section titled 'Gender-based Violence as a Weapon of War’, mentioned a video featuring BJP MLA from Uttar Pradesh Vikram Saini, who reportedly said: “Muslim party workers should rejoice in the new provisions. They can now marry the white-skinned women of Kashmir.”
Comments by Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar also found mention in the letter. "Some people are now saying that as Kashmir is open, brides will be brought from there. But jokes apart, if (the gender) ratio is improved, then there will be right balance in society," Khattar had said at an event marking the success of the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ campaign in Haryana.
The statement had led to a political slugfest, with Gandhi terming it "despicable". Mayawati, too, had slammed the remarks, calling them an example of "mean mentality".
Reacting to the criticism, Khattar accused the media of "running a misleading and fact-less campaign" against him and shared on Twitter a full video of the event. "Daughters are our pride. The daughters of entire country are our daughters," Khattar tweeted while clarifying his position. He also attacked Gandhi and advised him not to react on "distorted news".
Gandhi, meanwhile, found himself in the middle of a controversy after Pakistan quoted his comments on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, post the Narendra Modi government’s decision to repeal Article 370 and bifurcate the state into two Union Territories — J&K and Ladakh.
Seeking to clear the air, Gandhi said his differences with the government aside, Kashmir will remain India’s “internal issue”.
The Congress leader’s comments came after his remarks following a failed attempt to tour the Kashmir Valley were widely reported in Pakistani media. Gandhi had last week said that he got a taste of the current "draconian administration" in Jammu and Kashmir when he and other opposition leaders were barred from leaving the Srinagar airport and sent back to Delhi.
Gandhi was also mentioned in a letter sent by Pakistan's Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari on Monday to bolster Islamabad’s stand at the United Nations. The letter also quotes Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad questioning the restrictions in Kashmir.
The BJP shredded Gandhi, saying his comments on Kashmir shamed the nation and were "used" by Pakistan. "The Pakistani application to the UN mentions remarks made by Rahul Gandhi. The application states that acts of violence have been acknowledged by mainstream party leaders such as Gandhi," said Union minister Prakash Javadekar.