As the row over Ved Pratap Vaidik’s meeting with Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Sayeed escalated, Rahul Gandhi, on Tuesday, called the journalist an “RSS man” and questioned whether the Indian High Commission in Islamabad had facilitated the parleys.
“The question is did the Indian embassy facilitate the gentleman (Vaidik) or not. We are curious to find out if Indian embassy has facilitated this event.
“If they helped this gentleman in any way. That’s what we are curious about,” the Congress Vice President told reporters, a day after the party targeted the Prime Minister’s Office over the meeting alleging its “direct involvement” and asked the government to “come clean” on the issue.
“Ya he is an RSS man. That’s a known fact,” Gandhi said to a question about Vaidik, a close aide of yoga guru Ramdev.
Vaidik, who has come under attack after his meeting with Saeed in Lahore on July 2 while touring Pakistan, denied he is an RSS man. “Not even for one day I have been a member of RSS. Let him(Rahul) say whatever he likes,” he said.
RSS leader Ram Madhav, who recently joined BJP, asserted that Vaidik has no relation with RSS, saying a person roaming around with Congress leaders is not from the Sangh fountainhead.
“Vaidik saab has no relation with RSS. The person who roams around with Mani Shankar Aiyer and Salman Khurshid is not from RSS,” he said.
“In any case Hafiz Saeed is a terrorist. With regard to India he is a criminal. Whenever he comes to India, he will brought as a criminal under the Indian law and order system,” Madhav added.
With the Narendra Modi government coming under attack over the Vaidik issue both inside and outside Parliament, BJP leaders called it a diversionary tactics of Congress, asserting the journalist was “neither authorised nor representing the government or BJP”.
M Venkaiah Naidu, who is also Parliamentary Affairs Minister, alleged that Congress was trying to “divert” the attention of the people and the entire episode was part of the “disinformation campaign against this government and BJP”.
“I feel that the Congress party is trying to make an issue of one of the journalists meeting with Hafiz Saeed, the mastermind of the terrorist attack. That’s a private affair.
Vaidik also came under attack for some of his reported comments on Kashmir to a Pakistan TV channel.
“If he really said what he is believed to have said about Kashmir, if he went to Pakistan and bad-mouthed India, then action should be taken against him of the same type of action initiated against Ajmal Kasab and Afzal Guru,” Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut.
Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said Vaidik’s passport “should continued…