Lashkar-e-Toiba chief Hafiz Saeed has taken pot-shots at the Indian government for using a ‘fake’ twitter handle to link him with the JNU students’ protest and called it a “prime example of how the Indian government fools its own people”.
In a series of tweets with the hashtag, #JNU, Saeed went on to accuse India of similarly misleading its people about the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks that killed over 160 people in 2008.
Alleging me for #JNU protest based on a Fake account in my name is a prime example of how Indian government fools its own people.— Hafiz Muhammad Saeed (@HafizSaeedLive) February 14, 2016
Kashmiri youth are not acting on anyone's orders. The opression and atrocities they have faced is enough to make them resilient #JNU— Hafiz Muhammad Saeed (@HafizSaeedLive) February 14, 2016
Home Minister Rajnath Singh had brought in Hafiz Saeed into the public debate on the ‘anti-India’ JNU protests, suggesting that those speaking in support of the JNU students were on the same side as Saeed.
“The incident at JNU has received support from Hafiz Saeed . This is a truth that the nation needs to understand,” Singh told reporters in Allahabad on Sunday. The home minister’s comments had come days after a tweet, on a fake twitter handle, appeared under a hashtag asking Pakistanis to support the JNU protests.
Delhi Police had reacted within hours of the tweet, putting out an advisory on Twitter asking students not to get swayed by Saeed’s tweet. “Do not get carried away by such seditious anti-national rhetoric,” Delhi Police said in its advisory on social media. Police in other metros such as Mumbai and Hyderabad were also tagged to draw their attention.
But it soon became clear that Delhi Police had probably jumped the gun. It wasn’t the Lashkar chief.
In fact the Lashkar chief even released a video on Youtube claiming that the tweet wasn’t by him. HT however could not verify the authenticity of the video.
The home minister seemed to follow-up on the police assessment on Sunday when he drew the link between the protests at JNU and Saeed. It is a point that the BJP’s general secretary Shrikant Sharma had made a day earlier to attack Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi who had visited the campus to make common cause with the students.
“Rahul Gandhi and his friends are speaking in the voice LeT terrorist Hafiz Sayeed who had tweeted in support of anti-India event in JNU,” Sharma had said on Friday.
The opposition reacted sharply to the home minister’s remarks.
The Congress and the Left parties slammed the home minister and asked him to provide proof of what he had claimed. The CPM’s top leader, Sitaram Yechury, accused the government of “scaring us off” and crushing dissent, after protesters attacked the CPM party office.
On Friday, police charged JNU student union president Kanhaiya Kumar with criminal conspiracy and sedition for organizing a protest on the anniversary of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru’s hanging three years ago.
This has become a hotly contested political issue, days before Parliament is to convene for the Budget session.
Former Jammu & Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah too was unsparing in his attack, calling it a new low for the NDA government.
On the back foot, the home ministry tried to cap the criticism, asserting that Rajnath Singh’s statement bringing in the Saeed link was not based on a single source but inputs from “different agencies”.