“Iran condemns the wave of organized violence against Indian Muslims,” Zarif said in a tweet on Monday, while highlighting amicable relations between Tehran and New Delhi
“For centuries, Iran has been a friend of India,” he said, adding, “We urge Indian authorities to ensure the wellbeing of ALL Indians & not let senseless thuggery prevail.”
“Path forward lies in peaceful dialogue and rule of law,” Zarif concluded.
Earlier on Monday, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi voiced his country’s serious concern about the rising atrocities against Muslims in India, adding that Tehran is consistently following up the case.
“We are following the news coming from India with concern,” Mousavi said in his weekly presser.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran is following up on the issue through many channels and we have heard that some Muslim countries have had some movements.”
“We know India as a country where all ethnicities and religions live peacefully side by side,” he said, adding, “We hope that violence against Muslims in India would come to an end.”
“Considering the wisdom of Indian authorities that we are aware of, the country will become a peaceful place for all ethnicities,” he said.
The worst anti-Muslim violence by Hindu nationalists began on the eve of a state visit by US President Donald Trump, infamous for his anti-Muslim rhetoric and policies.
A police statement on Saturday, however, came without elaborating on whether the detainees were perpetrators of deadly violence on mosques and ordinary Muslim residence or Muslims defending their homes against indiscriminate attacks by Hindu nationalists with little intervention by police officers and other government security forces.
Over 40 people were declared killed by Hindu mobs last week, with hundreds more reported injured amid news accounts of largely useless police intervention to end the violence and meager international criticism of New Delhi’s failure to protect its minority Muslim population.
The violence began amid widespread protests across India over a citizenship law that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government introduced in December offering a path to Indian citizenship for six religious groups from neighboring countries, specifically excluding Muslims.
Critics insist the law is discriminatory, coming in the wake of other severe government measures against the country’s Muslim population such as withdrawal of autonomy for Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir province that has intensified discord across India about the future of its 200 million Muslims.
According to the UK-based Independent newspaper, Hindu nationalist mobs roamed the streets of New Delhi on February 23, “burning and looting mosques together with Muslim homes, shops and businesses.”
“They killed or burned alive Muslims who could not escape and the victims were largely unprotected by the police,” the daily added in a Friday article, underlining that dozens of Muslims “were killed and many others beaten half to death” – including a two-year-old baby that was “stripped by a gang to see if he was circumcised, as Muslims usually are but Hindus are not.”
“Some Muslim women pretended to be Hindus in order to escape,” it further noted, emphasizing that “the rest of the world has been slow to grasp the gravity of what is happening in India” as Modi’s government plays down its plans to shift the nation away from its previous status as a pluralistic state.
Critics of Modi’s government have blamed the anti-Muslim violence on members of the prime minister’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which was crushed in local Delhi elections early this month.
Although the bloody anti-Muslim violence in New Delhi began during Trump’s two-day visit to the country, the US president said he was satisfied that India’s Modi was working “really hard” to establish religious freedom.