Iranian diplomat wishes peace, friendship for all Indian citizens

March 3, 2020 - 23:4

TEHRAN – Iran’s Ambassador to India, Ali Chegeni, has expressed hope that all Indian citizens would enjoy “peace and friendship” through wise decisions by the Indian government and officials.

During a meeting with Indian Foreign Ministry director general for political affairs on Tuesday, Chegeni noted that India is famous among Iranians in which people with diverse religions and ethnicities live peacefully with each other.

Chegeni made the remarks as he was summoned to the Indian Foreign Ministry over a tweet by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in which he had expressed dismay over violence against Muslims in India. 

According to Press TV, the Indian sources said “a strong protest was lodged over the comments made by Javad Zarif on a matter internal to India.”

The Indian Foreign Ministry issued a demarche to the Iranian ambassador, claiming that the remarks by Zarif were “totally uncalled for and unacceptable,” according to a person familiar with the development.

Zarif condemns organized violence against Indian Muslims

“For centuries, Iran has been a friend of India. We urge Indian authorities to ensure the wellbeing of ALL Indians and not let senseless thuggery prevail,” Zarif tweeted on Monday night.“For centuries, Iran has been a friend of India. We urge Indian authorities to ensure the wellbeing of ALL Indians and not let senseless thuggery prevail,” Zarif said in a tweet on Monday night.

“Path forward lies in peaceful dialogue and rule of law,” he added.

According to Press TV, anti-Muslim violence began in India amid widespread protests over a citizenship law that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government introduced in December, offering a path to Indian citizenship for six religious groups from neighboring countries, specifically excluding Muslims.

Critics insist the law is discriminatory, coming in the wake of other severe government measures against the country’s Muslim population such as withdrawal of autonomy for Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir province that has intensified discord across India about the future of its 200 million Muslims.

Over 40 people were declared killed by Hindu mobs this week, with hundreds more reported injured amid news accounts of largely useless police intervention to end the violence and meager international criticism of New Delhi’s failure to protect its minority Muslim population.

According to the UK-based Independent newspaper, Hindu nationalist mobs roamed the streets of New Delhi on February 23, “burning and looting mosques together with Muslim homes, shops and businesses.”

“They killed or burned alive Muslims who could not escape and the victims were largely unprotected by the police,” the daily added in a Friday article, underlining that dozens of Muslims “were killed and many others beaten half to death” – including a two-year-old baby that was “stripped by a gang to see if he was circumcised, as Muslims usually are but Hindus are not.”

Critics of Modi’s government have blamed the anti-Muslim violence on members of the prime minister’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which was crushed in local Delhi elections early this month.

Police authorities in India announced on Saturday the arrest of hundreds following the worst anti-Muslim violence by Hindu nationalists that began on the eve of a state visit by U.S. President Donald Trump, infamous for his anti-Muslim rhetoric and policies.

A police statement, however, came without elaborating on whether the detainees were perpetrators of deadly violence on mosques and ordinary Muslim residence or Muslims defending their homes against indiscriminate attacks by Hindu nationalists with little intervention by police officers and other government security forces.

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