The Parliament today witnessed boiling reactions over the controversial meeting between Indian journalist Ved Pratap Vaidik and India's most wanted man Hafiz Saeed in Pakistan earlier this month, with the Opposition demanding his arrest.
However, Vaidik did not help matters when he went on to say that he believed Kashmir should be independent.
In an interview with Pakistani newspaper Dawn News, Vaidik is reported to have said that "If Kashmiris in both India and Pakistan were ready, then Kashmir could be made an independent country."
However, he later clarified his statement saying, "I have always been in favour of azadi (freedom) for the people Kashmir... Azadi yes and separation no. Kashmiri people should get the azadi same as the people of Delhi," IBNLive reported.
The BJP-ruled government has already stated that they did not authorise Vaidik's meeting with Saeed, who is the mastermind behind the 26/11 terror attacks in the city of Mumbai carried out in 2008.
While Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had already said in Rajya Sabha on Monday that the government was nowhere associated with the meet, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, in the midst of chaos in Lok Sabha, reiterated that the allegations were "baseless."
The Congress, however, and Rahul Gandhi in particular, has made claims that the journalist is a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which is the organisation of the BJP. Vaidik is also known to be an aide of yoga proponent Baba Ramdev, who has openly supported the BJP in the past.
"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," Gandhi told the media, as reported by the PTI.
Vaidik had met the terrorist on 2 July during his trip to Pakistan as part of a delegation of scholars and journalists. He said he met Saeed only in the capacity of a journalist. However, he has come in for strong opposition to his meet from all fronts, given that Saeed has the blood of hundreds of Indians on his hands following the terror attack.
BJP leader Subramanian Swamy also called the meet "unacceptable." The Opposition is demanding to know who gave Vaidik the permission to visit Saeed and which section of the media did he represent as a journalist. They have called for a probe in the matter.
Congress leader Veerappa Moily told the media that the Oposition will continue to protest over the matter in the Parliament and termed the meet as "anti-national."