No Regrets on Meeting Hafiz Saeed: V P Vaidik
NEW DELHI: Ved Pratap Vaidik, the senior journalist whose meeting with Hafiz Saeed has created a political storm, today said 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. My doors are always open. I have spoken to Maoists, to LTTE leader Prabhakaran, added Mr Vaidik, who is considered close to yoga teacher Ramdev.
The Congress today attacked the BJP-led government in the Rajya Sabha over the recent meeting which took place in Pakistan. Congress MPs sought to know why Mr Vaidik, a freelance journalist, had met Saeed on July 2. Former union minister Anand Sharma alleged, “Such meetings cannot take place without the knowledge of officials. Therefore a legitimate question arises, was the government of India in the loop?”
The government has nothing to do “directly, indirectly or even remotely” with any journalist meeting Saeed, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in the House, adding that the “government has not sanctioned permission to anyone for meeting him (Hafiz Saeed).” Protests forced the Rajya Sabha to adjourn twice.
As a photograph of the journalist’s meeting with Saeed circulated on social media, senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh had tweeted this morning, “Did he go as an Envoy of NDA Govt or as a personal Envoy of PM?”Another Congressman, Saifuddin Soz, alleged that Mr Vaidik was “very close to the RSS, closely associated with Ramdev.” The yoga teacher had campaigned for the BJP during the general elections.Mr Vaidik, 69, met Saeed while touring Pakistan along with a group of journalists and politicians invited by a peace research institute.
India 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.Though Saeed is on India’s most wanted list and has a US bounty of $10 million on him, he roams free in Pakistan and often addresses public rallies in which he routinely makes inflammatory statements.