Ved Prakash Vaidik

Ved-Prakash-VaidikControversies seem ceaseless for the senior Indian scribe. After creating political commotion by meeting Hafiz Saeed, Ved Prakash Vaidik has now stirrup up Kashmir controversy. Cutting from the crowd of his ilk, Vaidik, a right-winger, sees no harm in independent Kashmir!

An associate of Baba Ramdev, Vaidik said that both India and Pakistan should stop fighting over Kashmir and make it an independent nation. He said India and Pakistan should work to build a bridge rather than a gorge.

Earlier, while castigating Vaidik’s Pak visit, Congress asked if Vaidik was sent as an emissary to Pakistan and why proper channels had not been followed. Even as his meeting with 26/11 attack “mastermind” Hafiz Saeed created a furore in Parliament and outside, Vaidik said he had consented to meet the Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief purely at the behest of a journalist friend from Pakistan.

The issue led to two adjournments in the Rajya Sabha. Though the Modi government said it had nothing to do with the meeting and that there was no ‘Track-2 or Track-3’ diplomacy involved. There was uproar in Lok Sabha too with members seeking response over the “purpose and motive” behind the meeting from the home minister or external affairs minister.

In his 55 years of journalistic career, Vaidik said, he has not declined to meet anyone: from Maoist leaders to LTTE leaders including Prabhakaran. As the criticism mounted, Vaidik said, he wanted to analyse Saeed’s mind and know why he committed “heinous crimes against India”.

He denied being part of the Vivekananda International Foundation, with which IB chief Ajit Kumar Doval was earlier associated. This has been alleged as the reason why he was chosen to play the government’s ‘envoy’ to reach Saeed.

Amid the controversy, Saeed tweeted: We meet everyone with an open heart, whoever wants to meet; regardless of nation, belief or religion…Sadly, so-called ‘secular’ India is unable to bear an informal meeting of her journalist, Mr Vaidik, another eg (example) of Indian narrow-mindedness.

Vaidik, a seasoned journalist who has a specialty in South Asia, was once opinion editor of the Hindi daily Navbharat Times, then editor of Bhasha, the Hindi cousin of the Press Trust of India.

While clearing his stand on his Kashmir remarks, Vaidik said Kashmir should get autonomy, which it has: “Isn’t (Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister) Omar Abdullah a Kashmiri? Is he a Bihari?”

– Bilal Handoo

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