New Delhi, 15 July-2014, GARGI PARSAI/The Hindu: Both houses of Parliament saw frequent disruptions and were adjourned on the second consecutive day on Tuesday over Indian journalist Ved Prathap Vaidik meeting with terror mastermind Hafiz Saeed and the scribe’s subsequent interview to a Pakistan news channel on Kashmir issue.
Responding to opposition demand, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said government has nothing to do with the meeting. “Allegation that the government facilitated the journalist’s meeting with Hafiz Saeed is false and baseless,’’ she said.
The issue rocked Parliament as soon as both the Houses met for the day with members raising slogans and disallowing Question Hour to commence. In Rajya Sabha the Question Hour could not be taken up at all for the second day on Tuesday.
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan told the opposition members not to take the House for granted by staging protests during Question Hour.
“Suspension of Question Hour is not done. Question Hour is for all the members. If you do not want the Question Hour, drop it. I do not have any objection. But do not make it (disruption) a precedent,’’ she said.
In the upper house Leader of the House Arun Jaitley said he was reiterating what he’d said on Monday in unambiguous terms that the government has nothing to do with the meeting, which he termed as a “diplomatic misadventure of a private individual.”
Sharing the concern of opposition members, Mr. Jaitley asserted that he has already said that the government has nothing to do with the meeting “directly, indirectly or remotely.
“This is a diplomatic misadventure of a private individual. The Indian State, Government of India, political party has nothing to do with it. If there is one party in the last 67 years that has a stronger line on Jammu and Kashmir it is my party.
He was responding to the concern expressed by Leader of Opposition in the upper house, Ghulam Nabi Azad, over an interview given by the journalist to a Pakistan news channel. Quoting from the interview Mr. Azad said the journalist said “had he been Prime Minister he’d have invited him (Saeed) as a guest in Kashmir and that he was for freedom of Kashmir.’’
“Such views,’’ Mr. Azad said, “had never been openly expressed even by Kashmir separatists. Saeed is a terrorist involved directly or indirectly in terror attacks in India and this meeting and interview is a matter of concern. It is a matter of security of the country. The government must come out with a statement.’’
As Congress members came into the Well of the House seeking arrest of the Indian journalist, Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien adjourned the House.