India’s former ruling party Congress, tried to corner Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government in the parliament on Monday over the meeting of an Indian journalist with Jamatud Dawa Chief Hafiz Saeed in Pakistan, the Press Trust of India news service reported.
Congress leaders raised the issue of journalist Ved Pratap Vaidik’s meeting the JuD chief and asked if the government had sanctioned it.
The Congress lawmakers sought a detailed statement from the government on the ‘purpose and motive’ behind the Saeed-Vaidik meeting and even demanded the arrest of the journalist.
They said that Vaidik has been going to Pakistan and Afghanistan and is very close to Rashtriya Swayemsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Sangh Parivar, which represents the Hindu nationalist movement.
In the Rajya Sabha, Union Minister Arun Jaitley said that the government has nothing ‘directly, indirectly or even remotely’ to do with any journalist meeting the JuD chief.
Congress refused to accept the treasury’s stance.
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said that India needs to be taken into confidence about the issue and “we want the government to tell us why Vaidik had gone to Pakistan”. “Is he an envoy or is some back channel diplomacy taking place?” he asked.
Congress leader Anand Sharma said that such meetings cannot take place without the knowledge of the officials, adding that the government should tell why it was involved. “Has our foreign ministry received a report?” he asked. Sharma said that Vaidik carries an India passport and asked whether Indian citizens were allowed to spend time with ‘most wanted terrorists.’