Amid outrage from prominent Arab citizens over Islamophobic comments from some Indians in the Gulf region, Indian envoy to the UAE Pavan Kapoor on Monday sought to remind Indians in the UAE that discrimination is against the Indian moral fabric and rule of law.
Kapoor tweeted, “India and UAE share the value of non-discrimination on many grounds. Discrimination is against our moral fabric and the rule of law. Indian nationals in the UAE should always remember this.”
He was sharing a tweet by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in which he 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.”
Bilateral ties between India and the UAE have deepened in recent years, especially in counter-terrorism.
Over 2 million Indians live in the UAE and about 8 million Indians in the Gulf region. A possible backlash against Indians in the UAE in particular, and in the region in general, appears to have prompted the tweet by the Indian diplomat.
Uproar over BJP MP Tejasvi Surya’s 2015 tweet
On Sunday, Dubai-based businesswoman Noora Al Ghurair called out BJP MP Tejasvi Surya for a tweet about Arab women that he had shared in 2015. Sharing the tweet, Noora Al Ghurair said she pitied Surya’s “upbringing”.
Last week, Princess Hend Al Qassimi, a member of a UAE royal family, warned that “anyone that is openly racist and discriminatory in the UAE will be fined and made to leave the country.”
She also slammed Dubai-based Indian expat Saurabh Upadhyay who had put out several tweets targeting Muslims.
Indian businessman apologises
Meanwhile, the PTI has reported that a prominent Indian businessman in the UAE has apologised for “unintentionally hurting religious sentiments” through his poem, according to a media report.
In a related development, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (OIC-IPHRC) Sunday urged India to take “urgent steps” to protect rights of the Muslim community.
Following this, Pakistan PM Imran Khan compared the Indian government’s treatment of Muslims to “what Nazis did to Jews in Germany”.
The Ministry of External Affairs, which has not commented on the OIC comments, issued a statement against remarks by the Pakistani leadership.
MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said: “…Instead of concentrating on fighting COVID19, they are making baseless allegations against their neighbours. On the subject of minorities, they would be well advised to address the concerns of their own dwindling minority communities, which have been truly discriminated against.”