This Article is From Jun 26, 2023

"Bombed 6 Muslim Countries": Nirmala Sitharaman Takes On Barack Obama

Nirmala Sitharaman lashed out at Barack Obama for an interview in which he said he would raise the subject of Indian Muslims with PM Modi.

Niramala Sitharaman backed PM Modi's comments on minorities in India.

New Delhi:

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday defended Prime Minister Narendra Modi from questions surrounding the treatment of Muslims in India and his answer on the subject during a press conference in the US.

Accusing the Congress and other opposition parties of raising "non-issues, without data" in the face of electoral defeats, she also lashed out at former US President Barack Obama, questioning his comments on Indian Muslims because the US under his rule had "bombed six Muslim-majority nations".

"The Honourable Prime Minister himself, in the press conference in the US, has said how his government works on the 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas' principle and doesn't discriminate against any community. But the fact remains that when people join in this debate and highlight issues which are non-issues in a way," Ms Sitharaman said at a news conference.

"Out of the 13 awards that he has been given as Prime Minister of the country, six have been given by countries where Muslims are in the majority," she said.

"There are issues to be raised which are being raised at the state level about law and order. There are people taking care of it. To just allege without basic data in hand just tells us that these are organised campaigns," the BJP leader said.

Slamming the opposition, she said, "I think because they can't counter the BJP or PM Modi electorally - the Karnataka election result notwithstanding - that is why they are running these campaigns. And the Congress has had a big role in this in the past few elections."

Lashing out at Mr Obama for his interview with CNN, in which he had said he would look to raise the subject of Indian Muslims with PM Modi, Ms Sitharaman said, "I was shocked. When PM Modi was campaigning in the US - and by campaigning I mean speaking about India - a former President of the US is speaking about Indian Muslims."

"And I am saying this with restraint because it involves another country. We want friendship with the US but there too we get remarks about religious freedom in India. A former President - under whose rule six Muslim-majority countries were bombed with more than 26,000 bombs - how will people trust his allegations?" she said.

"I find this deliberate attempt to vitiate the atmosphere in this country because they think they cannot win against the developmental policies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi," the minister alleged.

Before Ms Sitharaman, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, also of the BJP, had targeted Mr Obama for his comments, saying his state police "should prioritize taking care of" the many "Hussain Obama" in India - highlighting the former US President's Muslim lineage.