In Lok Sabha, V Muraleedharan corrects MEA answer on Palestinian group Hamas
The MEA’s correction in the Lok Sabha came after the wrong attribution was flagged by Meenakshi Lekhi and the opposition slammed the Centre over the issue
Minister of state (MoS) for external affairs V Muraleedharan on Monday set the record straight in connection with the answer to an unstarred question in the Lok Sabha last week, clarifying that he should have been listed as the minister who replied to the question on the Palestinian group Hamas and not Meenakshi Lekhi.
Muraleedharan tabled a statement in the House on Monday, correcting the reply given on December 8 to an unstarred question by Kumbakudi Sudhakaran, MP regarding ‘Declaration of Hamas as Terrorist Organization’.
On Friday, the Lok Sabha’s website posted the question and answer. In its written reply, the ministry said, “Designation of an organisation as terrorist is covered under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and declaring any organisation as terrorist is considered as per the provisions of the Act by the relevant government departments.”
But Lekhi said in a post on X that this was incorrect. “…I have not signed any paper with this question and this answer…Inquiry will reveal the culprit.” She later added that she hadn’t signed any document related to the question. “I have called the foreign secretary and requested him to take action against those involved in this.”
Later, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi clarified that the document needed a “technical correction”. “We have noted that Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No 980 answered on 8 December 2023 needs a technical correction in terms of reflecting Shri V Muraleedharan,” he said.
Congress floor leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury cited the entire controversy around the Parliament answer to reflect the issues in the Centre’s foreign policy and asked for an “open discussion” on it in the House.
“We also don’t know what our stance on Hamas is. That is why a very strange situation has been created where we don’t have information about the state of our foreign affairs. (External affairs minister) Mr Jaishankar and Ms Lekhi are here, that is why I want an open discussion in the House about foreign policy. Modiji’s second term has reached its last leg, there should be a detailed discussion about external affairs in the House,” he said.
Chowdhury added: “Today, many questions about our country’s foreign policy are being raised. In Maldives, for instance, elections were held and ‘India Out’ was on the agenda. And those who raised this slogan won the elections. When this situation happened in Maldives, we should have paid more attention to it, because it is a strategic island.”
He also flagged the case of the eight ex-Navy personnel who were recently sentenced to death, the impact of China’s Belt and Road Initiative in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir execution and relations with Canada.
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