Government on Thursday downplayed the faux pas by external affairs minister SM Krishna in the Rajya Sabha over a question about an octogenarian Pakistani doctor lodged in Ajmer jail.
"Sometimes it happens when you are not able to understand the question, when there is noise and sometimes you miss the question. It happens, so I don't think unnecessarily it should be blown out of proportion," minister of state for parliamentary affairs Rajiv Shukla told reporters outside Parliament.
In response to a question by JD(U) member Shivanand Tiwari in Rajya Sabha about what the government was doing for the release of Pakistani citizen Dr Mohammad Khalil Chisti who is serving life sentence in a jail in Ajmer, Krishna said his release should be considered by the Pakistan government on humanitarian grounds.
The minister's strange answer led to an intervention by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who clarified the matter.
Shivanand Tiwari (JD-U) had asked what the government was doing for the release of the wheel chair-bound Dr Mohammad Khalil Chisti, a virologist who was sentenced to life imprisonment in December last year in a 1992 murder case while he was on a visit to India to see his ailing mother.
Krishna responded stating that this "particular person" was detained in Pakistan and it was a question to be considered by the government of that country on "humanitarian grounds".
Dr Chisti's case hit the headlines recently when Supreme Court judge Markandeya Katju had made a personal appeal to the Prime Minister seeking his release on humanitarian grounds saying that he was a heart patient with a hip fracture.
"It will be a disgrace for our country if he (Chishti) dies in jail...if a pardon is granted it will enhance the prestige of India," the judge had said.