Pak says India crossed red line on Balochistan
Wrestler Sakshi Malik’s bronze, which ended India’s medal drought at the Rio Olympics, is a testament to her fighting spirit as much on the mat as off it.
The 23-year-old is from Rohtak, which is only 80km from the national capital but steeped in ways that made it difficult for her to pursue a sport regarded as an exclusive preserve of men.
In the beginning, her family didn’t want her to wrestle and, at one point, the people in her village even teased her, saying wrestling would give her “cauliflower ears” and no one would marry her.
But Sakshi and everyone around her were ecstatic on Thursday after she became only the country’s fourth woman Olympic medallist — three of them in heavily physical sports. Karnam Malleswari (weightlifting) and Mary Kom (boxing) too succeeded in sports that used to be purely male dominated.
On a day Pakistan accused India of crossing a “red line” by raising alleged rights abuses in Balochistan, New Delhi said it wanted to discuss the vacation of parts of Jammu and Kashmir under “illegal occupation” by Islamabad.
The war of words heated up a day after India said it would take up Pakistan’s offer of talks provided they focus on cross-border terrorism and not the unrest in Kashmir, where more than 60 people have died in protests after the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani.
India reiterated that foreign secretary S Jaishankar had accepted his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Chaudhry’s invitation to visit Islamabad for talks, which should focus on the “more pressing aspects of the Jammu and Kashmir situation”.
These aspects, external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said, include Pakistan ending cross-border terrorism and “incitement to violence and terrorism” in Kashmir, detaining and prosecuting terrorist leaders who have been active in supporting such violence, closing down terrorist camps, and denying safe haven, shelters and support to terrorists who have escaped Indian law.
The Indian foreign secretary also looks forward to discussing “the earliest possible vacation of Pakistan’s illegal occupation of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir”, Swarup told a news briefing.
Swarup also dismissed Islamabad’s contention that the Indian premier had crossed a red line as an “extraordinary remark from a senior functionary of Pakistan that recognizes no red lines in its own diplomacy”.