The duo was allowed to interact with Jadhav, who sat across a glass screen, with the help of an intercom for 45 minutes.
Mumbai: Friends of former Indian navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, who is in Pakistan’s custody after having been sentenced to death on terror and sabotage charges, are outraged over the ‘humiliating treatment’ meted out to his wife, Chetankul, and mother, Avanti, who went to meet him in Islamabad on Monday.
The duo was allowed to interact with Jadhav, who sat across a glass screen, with the help of an intercom for 45 minutes. The family’s well wishers were shocked at the way the Pakistani authorities seized the wife’s shoes, suspecting that a camera or recording chip could be allegedly embedded in them, asked them not to converse in their native language Marathi and even allowed the Pakistani media to hurl objectionable questions at them. Jadhav’s brother Subhash, was seemingly disappointed at the comment by Samajwadi Party MP Naresh Agrawal in Delhi, who allegedly said, “If Pakistan considers Kulbhushan Jadhav to be a terrorist, then it (Pakistan) will behave with him accordingly.’ Mr Subhash said, “Naresh Agrawal should not play politics with such a sensitive issue.” When asked about Pakistan’s treatment of Jadhav’s wife and mother, he said, “No comments. My statement should not create any problem at the international forum.”
Vijay Kanojia, a friend of Jadhav’s, told The Asian Age, “We thought that humanity exists in the hearts of the people of Pakistan and that they would treat his family with respect. However, that did not happen.” Commenting on Mr Agarwal’s statement, Kanojiya said that he should not have said that as the “whole nation is behind Jadhav and he should also support the nation.” Tulsidas Pawar, a childhood friend of Kulbhushan Jadhav told this paper, “We had never thought that Pakistan would stoop to such a level that it would ask his mother and wife to remove their mangalsutra, slippers and bindi, which are cultural symbols of an Indian woman.”
He felt that Pakistan should have at least cared for his 80-year-old mother’s feelings.
Mr Pawar also expressed apprehension that Pakistan is preparing evidences to fight the case against Jadhav in the international court and had therefore confiscated the belongings of his family. It is difficult to believe that Jadhav is not being tortured because, “Jadhav seems to look like a 65-year-old man, which he is not.” Commenting on Mr Agarwal’s statement, he said that the minister should apologise for it in Parliament, as well to Jadhav’s family.
It was the first time that Jadhav was meeting his family since his arrest in March 2016, and Pakistan portrayed it as a humanitarian gesture to mark the birthday of the country's founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal had tweeted, “Pakistan permits the meeting of wife and mother of Commander Jadhav with him, as a humanitarian gesture, on the birthday of the Father of the nation, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah".
A Pakistani military court had in April sentenced Mr Jadhav to death on alleged charges of espionage and terrorism, following which India moved the International Court of Justice in May, which stayed the death sentence.