Zee Media Bureau/Ritesh K Srivastava
Islamabad: In the wake of allegations from the Congress-led Opposition that the Narendra Modi government facilitated the meeting between journalist Ved Pratap Vaidik and Pakistan-based terror mastermind Hafiz Saeed, the Indian High Commission has denied having any information regarding their matter.
Reports on Wednesday quoted the Indian High Commission as saying in its report that it had no information about the Vaidik-Saeed meeting and that it was a ``personal`` affair.
The clarification from the Indian High Commission came after the BJP government sought a report from it over the Vaidik-Saeed meeting, which has triggered a storm in the political quarters.
Earlier, Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had cleared the government`s stand on the issue, saying it has nothing to do with the meeting.
The Indian Commission had described the Saeed-Vaidik meeting as track 2 meet, implying that it was a non-governmental, informal and unofficial meeting.
Congress leader Renuka Chowdhury said that the issue holds national importance and should be paid heed to without getting into politics. "One needs to understand that its not Congress vs the BJP. This is about national security that we are addressing. It doesn`t matter if the BJP disapproves or approves of the matter, we are asking pertinent questions. There is a journalist in Pakistan who is witness to this interview. Also, he is also the self-appointed guardian of the country`s politics and has gone there and said that he is an intermediary. This means somebody has appointed him. In which case, don`t they have to find out whose intermediary is he? It is even more alarming now," she said.
However, the BJP said that though they condemn the meeting, they will not take steps which would be synonymous to curtailing press freedom.
"Renuka of the Congress party believes that we should curtail press freedom and that we question every journalist who travels. We need to track their programmes and have a big brother looking over the shoulder kind off an attitude. And then next is investigate a journalist as to why he met people? We condemn the meeting but that doesn`t mean we will curtail press freedom. But it should come to as no surprise how her party has," BJP leader Nalin Kohli said.
Vaidik is a close aide of yoga guru Baba Ramdev and a member of the well known think-tank Vivekananda International Foundation. Prime Minister Narendra Modi`s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval is also a part of the same foundation.
Vaidik has defended his meeting with Saeed, saying he met him as a journalist.