NEW DELHI: Journalist Ved Pratap Vaidik, whose meeting with 2008 Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed in Lahore has kicked up a row, Monday defended himself by saying he only wanted to analyse the Pakistani terror group leader's mind to "perceive his motivation about India".
Asked what was his objective in meeting the Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief who is wanted in India for the Mumbai attack, Vaidik told CNN-IBN: "The objective was very simple. I am a journalist and I really wanted to know him.
"I wanted to know what kind of a man he is and why he committed heinous crimes against India. I wanted to analyse his mind."
He said he has been meeting all sorts of people as a journalist, including those who dislike India.
"In Sri Lanka, I used to meet even worst India-haters. I listen to everybody's argument and I try to cut down their argument and pursuade them," Vaidik said.
He said his "controversial" meetings are aimed at mobilising peace in South Asia by way of pursuading people.
"I have a mission. The entire South Asia should be united. I try to promote peace and prosperity in this entire region," he said.
He categorically denied any link with the Vivekananda International Foundation, to which National Security Advisor Ajit Doval is associated.
"You are totally mistaken. I have never been a part of Vivekananda International Foundation. In fact, I have a grudge against them as they never invited me to deliver a lecture. I am not part of any organisation of the BJP or any other political party," he said.
Vaidik downplayed the controversy over his meeting with Hafiz Saeed, saying: "As a journalist, nobody is my boss, I follow my own conscience."