New Delhi: Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde put his foot in his mouth Monday when he addressed Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) founder and 26/11 main plotter Hafiz Saeed with the honorifics of “Shri” and “Mr.” in parliament.
“Mr. Rehman Malik, Interior Minister of Pakistan has been telling us repeatedly that he had arrested Mr. Hafiz Saeed thrice and that on each occasion, he was let off by the courts for lack of evidence,” Shinde said in an identical statement in both houses of parliament.
“We had been given to understand by the interior minister of Pakistan that Mr. Hafiz Saeed had been arrested on the charges of being a part of the conspiracy for the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. When we pursued this matter, they have given us papers pertaining to the detentions of Shri Hafiz Saeed in 2002 and 2009,” Shinde said.
“From the papers given to us, it is clear that the detentions of Shri Hafiz Saeed in the aforesaid cases were for other reasons and not for his role as a conspirator in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. Therefore, I can only say that Mr. Rehman Malik appears to have been misinformed in the matter,” Shinde said.
Shinde was making the statement in parliament after the BJP’s Ravi Shankar Prasad slammed the government for “not calling Rehman Malik’s bluff” and allowing him to make irresponsible statements during his recently-concluded Indian visit.
In April 2012, the US announced a bounty of $10 million on Hafiz Saeed for his alleged role in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.
The JuD and its armed wing, the Lashkar-e-Toiba, founded by Saeed, have been banned as a terrorist organisation by India, the US, Britain, the European Union, Russia and Australia.
The United Nations declared Jamaat-ud-Dawah a terrorist organisation in December 2008 and Hafiz Saeed a terrorist.
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First Published: Tuesday, December 18, 2012, 00:09