The Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday asked Pakistan to desist from interfering in its affairs and refrain from communal incitement after Islamabad condemned the beginning of the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya, PTI reported.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday broke ground on a temple in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, 28 years after the demolition of Babri Masjid at the same site.

Later in the day, Pakistan’s foreign ministry issued a statement and said a temple built on the site of the 16th century mosque would remain a “blot on the face of the so-called Indian democracy” for the times to come. “The flawed judgment of the Indian Supreme Court paving the way for construction of the temple not only reflected the preponderance of faith over justice but also the growing majoritarianism in today’s India, where minorities, particularly Muslims and their places of worship, are increasingly under attack,” the statement said.

Pakistan questioned the “extreme haste” in starting the construction of the temple amid a ravaging coronavirus pandemic. It also referred to the Citizenship Amendment Act, the National Register of Citizens and the February communal violence in Delhi and said such “anti-Muslim measures” pointed to the fact how Muslims in India are being “demonized, dispossessed, marginalized, and subjected to targeted violence”.

However, India rejected Pakistan’s criticism and said such comments were deeply regrettable.“While this is not a surprising stance from a nation that practices cross border terrorism and denies its own minorities their religious rights, such comments are nevertheless deeply regrettable,” a statement by Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said.

On Wednesday, the United Nations Security Council discussed Kashmir at Pakistan’s request for the third time since the Centre decided to end the Jammu and Kashmir’s semi-autonomy a year ago. The Security Council did not take any action or issue a statement after the virtual meeting behind closed doors.

After the meeting, Indian diplomat TS Tirumurti said Pakistan’s attempt to internationalise the Kashmir dispute had once again “come to naught”. However, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the meeting was a mark of solidarity of the international community with the people of “Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir subjected to a savage military siege”.

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