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Major row over Ramdev aide meeting Hafiz Saeed, government distances itself

Last Updated: Monday, July 14, 2014 - 23:55

New Delhi: Government Monday distanced itself from the reported meeting of an Indian journalist with 26/11 attack accused Hafiz Saeed in Pakistan, saying it had "not sanctioned" it and asserted there is no change in its stand on the terror mastermind.

It also said that "no track-2 or track-3 diplomacy" is involved and for the government, "Hafiz is a terrorist".

Congress leader Digvijay Singh raised in Rajya Sabha the issue of journalist Ved Pratap Vaidik meeting the mastermind of Mumbai 26/11 terror attack and asked if the government had sanctioned it, leading to uproar.

Government has nothing to do with "directly, indirectly or even remotely" with any journalist meeting Saeed, Union Minister Arun Jaitley responded, adding "government has not sanctioned permission to anyone for meeting him (Saeed)."

He said Saeed was a terrorist and indeed involved in terrorism against India.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said the government has clarified that it has no role in meeting of an individual journalist with Saeed.

"For the government, there is no change of stand as far Hafiz is concerned. For India, Hafiz is an accused in the terror attack. He is a terrorist who conspired to attack India," Javadekar told reporters outside Parliament.

The Minister said there is no "track-2 or track-3 diplomacy" involved and for the government

"Hafiz is a terrorist. Rajya Sabha leader has already clarified it in the House."

Reports said Vaidik, a freelance journalist, had met the Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief in Lahore on July 2 while touring Pakistan with a group of journalists and politicians invited by a peace research institute.

India accuses Saeed, the founder of Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba, of orchestrating the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks in which 166 people were killed.

PTI

First Published: Monday, July 14, 2014 - 16:07

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