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India terms [Gujarat] killings an internal affair.........
by Saima Alvi
23 April 2002 11:35 UTC
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23 April 2002  Tuesday  

India terms killings an internal affair 
By Jawed Naqvi 

NEW DELHI, April 22: New Delhi has taken strong exception to the widespread 
criticism and horror expressed by foreign governments and human rights 
observers of the anti-Muslim pogroms, and the Ministry of External Affairs 
termed on Monday their comments an "interference" in India's internal 

"We would like to make clear that India does not appreciate interference in 
our internal affairs, including the utilisation of the Indian media by 
foreign leaders as well as by visiting dignitaries to make public 
statements in order to pander to their domestic lobbies," foreign ministry 
spokeswoman Nirupama Rao told reporters. 

She was reacting specifically to an interview the visiting Finnish Foreign 
Minister Erkki Tuomiojaa gave to The Indian Express on Friday, in which he 
called the Hindu-Muslim violence in Gujarat "a matter of great concern." 

"The pictures of carnage are very disturbing," the minister said. "We are 
concerned, as we are when something of that nature happens anywhere in the 
world." India has lodged a protest with Finland through diplomatic 
channels, Rao said. 

Rao's remarks coincided with newspaper reports on Monday of at least six 
Muslim civilians, including women, being shot dead by police at point-blank 

The reports said 18-year-old Nazimabanu Mehmood Hussain was shot dead at 
point-blank range by the police in Ahmedabad on Sunday afternoon. The 
bullet hit the young girl in the forehead. Seconds after she died on the 
spot, her father, 42-year-old Mehmood Hussain Ibrahimbhai, was killed in a 
similar fashion. 

Four others, who were killed in the police firing, including another woman, 
were later found to have also been shot at point-blank range, the Indian 
Express reported. The European Union has dispatched a fact-finding mission 
to Gujarat where more than 2,000 Muslims are feared to have been killed by 
rightwing Hindu mobs. 

The Express on Monday again quoted a EU report as drawing parallel between 
Gujarat and Nazi Germany. It quotes the European Union in a just-finalised 
declaration as saying that "the carnage in Gujarat was a kind of 
apartheid ... and has parallells with Germany of the 1930s." 

The declaration, to be made public this week, according to the Express, 
carries 15 signatures, including those of the ambassadors of Britain, 
France, Italy, Spain and Belgium. 

Rao, when asked if India would react similarly if the UN were to make an 
adverse comment on the situation, said: "We will make it perfectly clear 
that the Government of India is taking all the necessary steps to deal with 
the situation." 

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