Throwing stones can be risky while dwelling in a mansion made of glass. The wisdom of this adage seems to have eluded the Bharatiya Janata Party when the foreign minister tweeted — this, after all, is election season — that she had sought a report from the Indian high commission on the abduction and forcible conversion of two minor Hindu girls in Pakistan. An official note has also been submitted, registering New Delhi’s concern at the palpable threat to minorities in Pakistan. Both India and Pakistan possess unenviable records when it comes to safeguarding minorities within their respective domains. Indian Muslims have been allegedly alienated by Sushma Swaraj’s party while Islamabad’s treatment of Hindus as well as smaller Islamic sects — the Ahmadis are a case in point — has been equally disappointing. Did such a chequered record prompt the two neighbours to agree — conveniently — not to interfere in each other’s domestic affairs in the Simla Agreement?
Ms Swaraj’s concern is premised on moral grounds. There is nothing wrong about such censure, except for the fact that the BJP’s shameful failure to secure the lives of Muslims during its stint at the Centre makes it very difficult for the likes of Ms Swaraj and her colleagues to mount the moral high horse. It is this yawning chasm between the BJP’s pledge of inclusion and its apathy towards minorities — Muslims, Dalits and adivasis have every reason to be wary of the architects of a new, homogeneous India — that makes it possible for the information minister of Pakistan to suggest that all is not well with disadvantaged segments within India either. It would be difficult for Ms Swaraj to refute the charge. The shocking assault on a Muslim family in Gurgaon on Holi shows that targeted atrocities — be they violence against Kashmiris or the lynching of Muslims in the name of protecting a venerated animal — continue unabated. If anything, the transgressions committed against vulnerable people on both sides of the border bind India and Pakistan to a shame that transcends boundaries.