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Photo: ANI
Photo: ANI

Indian envoy says New Delhi and UAE share values of non-discrimination

Indian ambassador to UAE Pavan Kapoor’s comment comes amid reports of alleged targeting of Muslims in India over the covid-19

NEW DELHI : India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) share the values of non-discrimination on any grounds, India’s ambassador to the Gulf emirate Pavan Kapoor said in Twitter post on Monday, amid reports of unease among Arab countries over the alleged targeting of Muslims in India over the spread of the covid-19 in the country.

"India and UAE share the value of non-discrimination on any grounds. Discrimination is against our moral fabric and the Rule of law. Indian nationals in the UAE should always remember this," Kapoor said in his post.

The post follows reports in the Gulf News of several expat Indians getting sacked for their alleged Islamophobic social media messages in recent days.

Kapoor also quoted a Twitter post by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in which he had said, "covid-19 does not see race, religion, colour, caste, creed, language or borders before striking. Our response and conduct thereafter should attach primacy to unity and brotherhood. We are in this together."

The tweets come after criticism from some quarters in the UAE and Kuwait. The Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the federation of 57 Muslim nations, on Sunday had in a Twitter post condemned what it called the “unrelenting vicious #Islamophobic campaign in #India maligning Muslims for spread of #COVID-19 as well as their negative profiling in media subjecting them to discrimination & violence with impunity."

“#OIC-IPHRC urges the #Indian Govt to take urgent steps to stop the growing tide of #Islamophobia in India and protect the rights of its persecuted #Muslim minority as per its obligations under int'l HR law," it had said in a second post.

Reports of maltreatment of Indian Muslims have surfaced after a spike in covid-19 cases that was seen as due to a congregation hosted last month by Islamic missionary group Tablighi Jamaat. Members of the Jamaat who travelled to different parts of the country were seen as the cause of infections in different states.

Earlier this month, the Indian government had warned against the vilification of certain communities and neighbourhoods based on false reports on social media and issued an advisory to address the social stigma and discrimination surrounding the covid-19 pandemic.

The advisory asked people not to publish online names, identities or localities where the affected live or were quarantined, It also urged people to avoid spreading fear and panic.

Since taking office in 2014, prime minister Modi has made a major effort to reach out to the Gulf countries especially the UAE and Saudi Arabia to ensure close ties. Last year, then Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj was invited to address the foreign ministers’ meet of the OIC— the first such invite in five decades. Swaraj was the “guest of honour" at the inaugural plenary 46th meeting and the invitation was seen as a major blow to Pakistan that had consistently opposed India’s entry into the grouping despite having the third-largest Muslim population in the world. Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had refused to attend the OIC meet because of the invite to India.

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