On an allegation of meeting a Pakistani journalist, the former Vice-President said, “It is a known fact that invitations to foreign dignitaries by the Vice-President of India are on the advice of the Government generally through the Ministry of External Affairs.”
NEW DELHI – Former Vice-President Hamid Ansari has refuted the allegations levelled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) against him with regard to his meeting with a Pakistani journalist terming them “litany of falsehood”.
BJP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia held a press conference at the headquarters on Wednesday to allege that Ansari invited and met a Pakistani journalist Nusrat Mirza and shared sensitive and secret information with him to pass it on to Pakistani intelligence.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Ansari said, “Yesterday and today a litany of falsehood has been unleashed on me personally in the sections of the media and by the official spokesman of the Bharatiya Janata Party”.
He asserted “I never invited him or met him”.
Ansari also clarified that he had inaugurated the Conference on Terrorism, on December 11, 2010, the ‘International Conference of Jurists on International Terrorism and Human Rights’ which Mirza claimed to attend. But the normal practice is the list of invitees would have been drawn by the organisers, he said.
“It is a known fact that invitations to foreign dignitaries by the Vice-President of India are on the advice of the Government generally through the Ministry of External Affairs,” asserted Ansari.
At the press conference, BJP spokesperson Bhatia sought answers from Ansari, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and former Congress President Rahul Gandhi and even called it “treason”.
“People of India are giving you so much respect and you are betraying the country. Isn’t this treason? Sonia Gandhi, Rahul and Hamid Ansari should come out and reply to this,” said Bhatia.
Bhatia further claimed that “a person who is sharing information with the ISI is invited to come to India. Was this the Congress’ policy to end terrorism? This is the party’s poisonous mindset. Our government has resolved to root out terrorism. On the other hand, this is the Congress mindset”.
The BJP picked up the issue after Mirza, while talking to a YouTuber, claimed that he had visited India several times. During the interview, he did not say he was invited by Ansari to the event.
“In 2011, I was invited when Hamid Asnari was the Vice-President and there was seminar on terrorism,” this is what Mirza said.
On the basis of this statement, the BJP claimed that Mirza was invited by Ansari to India and shared secret information. The BJP made these claims after some Hindutva supporters shared the clip widely and ran a campaign against Ansari.
After the social media campaign, a Congress spokesperson and former officer on special duty to the Vice-President refuted the allegations describing them “incorrect report”. He also pointed out that the journalist did not say that he was invited by Ansari.
Meanwhile, the Congress also condemned the allegation levelled by the BJP against Ansari.
“Insinuations and innuendos by a spokesperson of the BJP against Sonia Gandhi, Congress President & Hamid Ansari, former Vice-President of India, are to be condemned in the strongest possible language,” said Jairam Ramesh, Congress General Secretary in-charge Communications.
“The levels that the Prime Minister and his party colleagues will stoop to debase public debate and spread their patented brand of lies is staggering. It reflects sickness of mind and lack of any form of integrity whatsoever,” he added.