The Congress stalled Lok Sabha proceedings on Thursday to first press for a statement by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on the the Ved Pratap Vaidik-Hafiz Saeed meeting and later over the reference of a bill to a standing committee.
As the Congress protest prevented SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav from starting his speech on the Budget for some time, he advised the Congress in his speech later to come to the streets now for launching a struggle. “You have enjoyed power a lot….You have enjoyed power for long…. Now you agitate on the streets,” Mulayam said, turning to Congress members, including party chief Sonia Gandhi. The Congress members tried to appear unruffled, but BJP members registered their appreciation by thumping their desks.
During zero hour, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge demanded that Swaraj share the report of the Indian High Commission on the Vaidik-Saeed meeting with the House, as promised by her earlier. Congress members also came into the well to insist that Swaraj come to the House and respond to their demand. They were not prepared to wait even after Speaker Sumitra Mahajan told them they needed to give time to the government. She said she could not compel the government to respond to a zero hour mention. The reply of Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu that he would convey their concern to the minister also failed to satisfy the Congress. Swaraj told the House later: “We have received a report from the Indian High Commission (in Pakistan). The High Commission has categorically stated that they didn’t know about this meeting and, therefore, the question of the High Commission facilitating it does not arise.”
Once zero hour got over, Mahajan called upon Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot to introduce the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill. “Should it be referred to the standing committee?”, the Speaker asked Gehlot after the introduction. Gehlot put the onus on the Speaker, saying, “As you decide.” Gehlot, however, stuck to his position and the Speaker referred the bill to the committee.
Hafiz discussed Indo-Pak issues with Vaidik: JuD
The Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) Thursday released a statement claiming that the 2008 Mumbai attacks and the Narendra Modi government were among topics discussed by its chief Hafiz Saeed and Ved Pratap Vaidik when they met in Lahore on July 2. JuD spokesperson Yahya Mujahid, who claim to be present at the interaction, said the meeting was set up at the request of the Indian journalist. “They discussed how all 26/11 evidences provided by India have been rejected by the Pakistani courts, and that India should respect the courts on this issue; and the governance style of Indian Prime Minister Modi,” Mujahid said.
2 complaints against Vaidik for ‘sedition’
Two complaints were filed against Ved Pratap Vaidik — one a police complaint in Delhi and another a complaint before Varanasi district court — by two lawyers seeking penal action against columnist and Baba Ramdev’s aide. Both the complaints have accused Vaidik of carrying out “seditious” an “anti-national” activities by meeting Hafiz Saeed, the ‘mastermind of 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks’, and for his comments on Kashmir in an interview to a Pakistani journalist.