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

Ruckus in Parliament


A picture of the yoga guru's close aide Ved Pratap Vaidik with Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief in Lahore was circulated on social media, stirring a controversy and also resulting in repeated disruptions in the Rajya Sabha.
    
Though the government clarified in the Upper House that it had nothing to do with this meeting, Congress members in both Houses sought a detailed statement from the government on the "purpose and motive behind the meeting with India's most wanted terrorist".
    
Congress members created uproar in Rajya Sabha forcing two adjournments during Question Hour as they and their counterparts in Lok Sabha, as well as those from their allies, sought to know whether the journalist had sought government's permission before meeting Saeed and who facilitated it.
    
They demanded a statement by either the External Affairs Minister or Home Minister saying this was "a serious matter concerning national security".

They also alleged that the journalist was a key member of outfits close to BJP.
    
In Rajya Sabha, Leader of the House and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said for India, Saeed was a terrorist and indeed involved in terrorism against India.
    
Government has nothing to do with "directly, indirectly or even remotely" with any journalist meeting Saeed, he said, adding "government has not sanctioned permission to anyone for meeting him (Saeed)."
    
The issue was raised strongly in the Lower House by K C Venugopal (Cong), N K Premachandran (RSP) and E Ahamed (IUML), with Speaker Sumitra Mahajan asking the agitated members to take their seats, saying "you can't compel the government to make a statement."
    
In Rajya Sabha, Congress members demanded the arrest of the journalist, with their leader Digvijay Singh raising the issue seeking to know from Jaitley if the meeting had government's sanction.

Chairman Hamid Ansari disallowed him from raising the issue saying this was not the occasion for it and took up the Question Hour. But as Congress members persisted, Ansari adjourned the House for 15 minutes.
    
When the House reassembled, Congress members again raised the issue, with senior member Anand Sharma saying that Saeed was the "most wanted terrorist not just in India but all over the world."

Hafiz Saeed-Ramdev's aide meet

 

-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. He is on India's most wanted list and has a bounty of USD 10 million on him.

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

-A photograph of the meeting being circulated on the social media triggered a storm in the political corridors of the country.

-Vaidik has said he met Hafiz Saeed July 2 in Lahore and had an hour long chat with him. He has said that he met the 26/11 mastermind in his capacity as a journalist.

Did not meet Saeed as govt envoy: Journalist

As a row erupted over his meeting with Mumbai attack mastermind, journalist Ved Pratap Vaidik, considered close to Baba Ramdev, rejected suggestions by Congress that he might have acted as government's envoy, saying he was "nobody's envoy but my own".
 
Vaidik also defended his action, saying he has been meeting all kinds of people and it was a "simple thing" for him.
    
"Journalists in Pakistan know me for decades. They made a gesture (about meeting Saeed) to me and I said alright I will meet him. It was no big deal for me. It was a simple thing. For me it was like a normal meeting. I have been meeting the Maoists of Nepal, Taliban of Afghanistan...," he told reporters.

"If they raise the issue in Parliament, it is good as they will publicise me against my will. But nothing will come out of it," he had posted on Twitter.
     
Ramdev defends his aide


Yoga guru Ramdev said that he would talk to Ved Pratap Vaidik about his meeting with Saeed but defended him saying that he must have met the terrorist leader as a journalist.

"I will talk to Vaidik (ji)...I am very confident that even if he has met him, then he must have tried to change his (Saeed's) heart. Vaidik is a renowned journalist and when journalist in any context meets a personality, it is for good and to know person's expectation," Ramdev told the media.

Ramdev also called Vaidik a nationalist and said he must have tried to change Saeed's heart. He, however, said that Saeed was an enemy of the country, so no Indian can ever consider him to be a friend.

JPN/Agencies

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