Vaidik-Saeed meeting creates rifts in India


India’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s ideological wing Rashtriya Swayamseva Sangh (RSS) openly backed Indian journalist Ved Pratap Vaidik on Wednesday even as BJP ally Shiv Sena accused him of sedition for meeting Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) Chief Hafiz Saeed in Pakistan, a few days ago.

As opposition parties continued to protest against the Indian government for a third day, RSS leader Indresh Kumar said that Vaidik is a patriot and what he did was for the betterment of the nation.

BJP ally Shiv Sena has also cornered the government for not acting against Vaidik for meeting alleged mastermind of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks Hafiz Saeed, in Lahore.

The Sena, in its political mouthpiece Saamana, called Vaidik unpatriotic and accused him of sedition for meeting a terrorist. The editorial said that the government simply cannot dissociate itself from the incident and must not be soft on Vaidik.

“Just saying that the government has nothing to do with the meeting will not suffice. Had it been a Congress government and any journalist would have met Hafiz or Dawood Ibrahim, the BJP would have attacked the government,” read the editorial in Saamana, adding that the BJP government should get to the bottom of the issue.

The newspaper stated that there should not be any Hindu-Muslim discrimination “as this is a matter of national security”, adding that if Vaidik is let off, anyone will go and visit Dawood, Tiger Memon and Saeed in the future.

The Sena stated that the Modi government has begun well and it should not create problems for itself because of the misadventure of an individual.

It is good that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj condemned the meeting in the (Indian) Parliament, the Sena said.

Meeting Saeed, the country’s enemy, is “treason” and the government should take stern action against the journalist, said the Sena.

“He should be treated in the same manner as Afzal Guru and Ajmal Kasab,” said Sena leader Sanjay Raut.

Speaking of his meeting with the JuD chief and the alleged involvement of the Indian government, Vaidik said, “Swaraj is a very intelligent woman. She has told everyone that BJP has got nothing to do with me and has condemned my meeting. By doing this she has closed the debate.”