India had nothing to do with Vaidik-Hafiz Saeed meeting, says Sushma

*Minister says dubs accusation of govt’s role in meeting untrue *Jaitley calls meeting a diplomatic misadventure of a private citizen

NEW DELHI – India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj informed the Lok Sabha –lower house of the Indian parliament – that the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi had nothing to do with the reported meeting between Jamaatud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed and Indian journalist Ved Pratap Vaidik in Pakistan, Indian news channels reported on Tuesday.

The minister dubs the accusation of government’s role in the meeting as not only untrue but also unfortunate. In Rajya Sabha – upper house of the Indian parliament- Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the government had no role in the controversial meeting between the Dawa chief and the Indian journalist.

“This is a diplomatic misadventure of a private citizen. If there is any party that has a clear and strong line on the Kashmir issue that is my party,” Jaitley said. On the occasion, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said that Vaidik told Saeed that Kashmir should be separated from India. Another Congress leader Kamal Nath condemns Vaidik's meeting with Hafiz Saeed.

MG Vaidya said a journalist can put his thoughts across, but not everyone will accept it. “It would have been good if Ved Vaidik hadn't met Hafiz Saeed. But he went as a journalist, it's not against the nation,” he said. Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut said that if he went to Pakistan and spoke against India, then action should be taken against him – Ved Vaidik.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh also informed the Lok Sabha that the government has nothing to do with this meeting. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi linked Vaidik with the RSS, the ideological mentor of the ruling BJP, and questioned whether the Indian embassy was involved in his meeting with Hafiz Saeed. "The man (Vaidik) is an RSS man. That is a known fact. We are curious to know if Indian embassy (in Pakistan) facilitated this meeting,” he told reporters as he entered the parliament.

Vaidik, 69, met Saeed while touring Pakistan along with a group of journalists and politicians invited by a peace research institute. “Vaidik traveled to Pakistan with Congress leaders Salman Khurshid and Mani Shankar Aiyar. How the RSS comes into the picture, I don't understand,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu said. RSS leader Ram Madhav also said that Ved Vaidik has no connection with the organisation.




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