July 14, 2014 | By Parmjeet Singh
New Delhi, India (July 14, 2014): A journalist’s interview with Hafiz Saeed has sparked a controversy in political circles in India. The issue echoes in both the Houses of Indian Parliament on Monday (July 14).
India considers Hafiz Saeed as mastermind of 26/11 Mumbai strikes.
According to media reports the journalist in question is Ved Pratap Vaidik, who is a close aide of Yoga trainer and Hindu priest Baba Ramdev. Ved Pratap Vaidik is also considered in good terms with Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) senior leader L. K. Advani.
The meeting/ interview between Ved Partap Vaidik and Hafiz Saeed reportedly took place on July 02, 2014 in Pakistan.
The BJP led Government of India, however, distanced itself from the reported meeting of Ved Pratap Vaidik with Hafiz Saeed in Pakistan, saying it had “not sanctioned” it and asserted there is no change in its stand on the 26/11 mastermind.
While the Congress demanded Vaidik’s arrest saying it was a matter of national interest, the Centre maintained that he had met Hafiz Saeed in the capacity of a journalist which could not be regulated.
Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh raised the issue when the Rajya Sabha met for the day seeking to know from Leader of the House and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley if the meeting had government’s sanction.
Minister of State, Home Ministry, Kiren Rijiju ruled out any action saying, “Hafiz Saeed is most wanted and this is an important issue and we will look into it. But a journalist cannot be regulated.”
Arun Jaitley backed Rijiju’s comments saying, “Hafiz Saeed is a terrorist as per Government of India, any journalist in individual capacity meeting in personal capacity government has nothing to do with it directly or indirectly.”
The Congress will give a notice for discussion, to seek a further explanation from the government. The party has planned to take this up in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.
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