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'Bombed 6 Muslim Countries': Finance Minister Sitharaman Calls Out Obama

Sitharaman's remarks come just days after Modi wrapped up his first-ever State visit to the US.

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Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday, 25 June, took issue with comments about Indian Muslims made by former US President Barack Obama in a recent interview.

Playing defence: "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," Sitharaman said in a press conference.

  • "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 added.

  • "Out of the 13 awards that he [Modi] has been given as Prime Minister of the country, six have been given by countries where Muslims are in the majority," the minister further said.

Why it matters: Sitharaman's remarks come just days after Modi wrapped up his first-ever State visit to the US. While the Biden administration rolled out the red carpet for him, Modi's trip was also marred by protests over the alleged human rights violations, suppression of dissent, and persecution of religious minorities, particularly Muslims and Christians, in India under his prime ministership.

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Know more: Sitharaman said that the allegations had been levelled "without basic data in hand" and suggested that "these are organised campaigns" by the Opposition.

  • "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," the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader added.

Step back: "If President (Joe Biden) meets with Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi, the protection of Muslim minority in a majority Hindu India is something worth mentioning," Obama had said in a CNN interview.

“If I had a conversation with Mr Modi – who I know well – part of my argument would be that if you do not protect the rights of ethnic minorities in India, then there is a strong possibility India at some point starts pulling apart. And we’ve seen what happens when you start getting those kinds of large internal conflicts," Obama had said.

Meanwhile, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma's attempt to target Obama for his comments sparked further political backlash. "There are many Hussain Obama in India itself. We should prioritize taking care of them before considering going to Washington. The Assam police will act according to our own priorities," Sarma said in response to a journalist's tweet.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Obama   Finance Minister    Barack Obama 

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