NEW DELHI: Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Aggarwal today kicked up a row by controversially stating that if Pakistan considers Kulbhushan Jadhav a terrorist, it would treat him like one -- remarks the BJP dubbed "betrayal of national interest".
Aggarwal also hit out at the media, saying why it was only talking about Jadhav when hundreds of Indians were lodged in Pakistani jails.
The comments came in the backdrop of Pakistan treating Jadhav's mother and wife in a humiliating manner. Pakistan went so far as to have the mangal sutra, bangles and bindi of his mother and wife removed before they met him on Monday.
"What ideology a particular nation follows, it is known only to that nation. If Pakistan considers Jadhav a terrorist, then they will behave with him accordingly," Aggarwal told a TV channel.
"Our nation should also treat terrorists in the same way, in a tough manner. I don't understand why the media is only talking about Jadhav. There are hundreds of Indians lodged in Pakistani jails. Why they are not being talked about?," he said.
Reacting to Aggarwal's remarks, BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao said his comments were "symptomatic of betrayal of national interest by the Congress-led UPA over Pakistan".
"They side with Pak, wine and dine with Pak leaders, abuse Indian Army chief, question surgical strikes, call Kulbhushan Jadhav a terrorist. Alas!" he said in a tweet.
Rao also wondered if Aggarwal was doing so as his Rajya Sabha term was expiring in a few months.
"Is he trying to become like-minded betrayers' coalition candidate in UP RS polls? OR is he desperately trying to challenge Mani Shankar Aiyar as 'Chief Anti-India propagandist' to host next secret dinner for Pakistan?" he asked.
Jadhav, who was arrested in March, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court for alleged spying, an accusation that India has dismissed as concocted.
Yesterday, India had accused Pakistan of violating mutual understanding on Jadhav's meeting with his family and said that the Indian national appeared coerced and under considerable stress during the tightly-controlled interaction.