NEW DELHI: Calling it a diversionary tactics of Congress, the government today distanced itself from the meeting between Ved Prakash Vaidik and Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed, saying the journalist was "neither authorised nor representing the government or BJP".
Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu alleged that Congress was trying to "divert" the attention of the people and the entire episode was part of the "disinformation campaign against this government and BJP".
"I feel that the Congress party is trying to make an issue of one of the journalists meeting with Hafiz Saeed, the mastermind of the terrorist attack. That's a private affair.
"The government has nothing to do. He has been neither authorised nor representing the government or the party. We have nothing to do with that meeting. It's a free country, people are going to different places," Naidu told reporters here.
He said that the people who were now making a "hue and cry" over this issue had kept silent when Yasin Malik had met the same Saeed.
"Yasin Malik on an earlier occasion also met Hafiz Saeed. At that time all these people were keeping quite. Now they are trying to make a hue and cry and trying to link it with the government.
"(It is being said) Vaidik is an RSS man....Mani Shankar Aiyer is a Congressman if they could understand. Man is a man whatever organisation you belong to. How is that RSS has come into the picture, I do not understand. They are trying to divert the attention of the people," Naidu said.
Vaidik had met the chief of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, said to be the parent organisation of terror outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba, in Lahore on July 2 while touring Pakistan along with a group of journalists and politicians invited by a peace research institute.
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi today described Vaidik as a "RSS man" and questioned whether the Indian High Commission in Islamabad had facilitated the meeting between him and Saeed.