‘Did Indian Embassy Facilitate Journalist’s Meeting With Hafiz Saeed: Rahul
NEW DELHI : The political showdown over senior journalist Ved Pratap Vaidik’s meeting with terror mastermind Hafiz Saeed intensified today with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi linking the journalist to the RSS, the ideological mentor of the ruling BJP.”The man is an RSS man. That is a known fact. We are curious to know if Indian embassy facilitated this meeting,” Mr Gandhi told reporters today.
The controversy has exploded in Parliament, with several Congress members demanding to know why Mr Vaidik, a freelance journalist, met Saeed in Lahore on July 2. This morning, the Rajya Sabha adjourned within minutes amid loud protests by the Congress.Mr Vaidik, 69, met Saeed while touring Pakistan along with a group of journalists and politicians invited by a peace research institute. He is considered close to yoga teacher Ramdev, who campaigned for the BJP in the national election.
Former union minister Anand Sharma alleged on Monday, “Such meetings cannot take place without the knowledge of officials.
Therefore a legitimate question arises, was the government of India in the loop?” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley asserted that the government has nothing to do “directly, indirectly or even remotely” with any journalist meeting Saeed. “The government has not sanctioned permission to anyone for meeting him (Hafiz Saeed),” he said in Parliament.
Ved Pratap Vaidik has told NDTV he doesn’t regret meeting man who tops India’s list of most wanted.”Regrets? Apology? These are strange words coming for a journalist. Why should a journalist need to apologise?” Mr Vaidik told to a TV Channel> “When I went to Pakistan, a meeting with Hafiz Saeed wasn’t planned. Journalists there asked me – you criticise Hafiz Saeed so much, have you ever met him? I have been in journalism 55 years and I have never said no to meeting anyone,” he said.
New Delhi accuses Saeed, founder of the Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba, of plotting a series of terror strikes in India, including the 26/11 Mumbai attacks in 2008, in which 166 people were killed. Saeed, however, roams free in Pakistan and often addresses public rallies.