‘Every Indian knows why the BJP is targeting Hamid Ansari.’
Pakistani journalist Nusrat Mirza in a television interview to a Pakistani news channel made the sensational claim that he used to visit India and would pass on messages to Pakistan’s military establishment and its spy agency, the directorate of inter services intelligence.
During the course of the interview, Mirza recalled how he had attended a seminar addressed by then then vice president Hamid Ansari.
The Bharatiya Janata Party, for who Ansari has been a regular punching bag, promptly demanded an explanation from the former vice president over his supposed association with Nusrat Mirza.
Syed Firdaus Ashraf/Rediff.com asks Gurdeep Singh Sappal, who served as officer on special duty to then vice president Ansari and is now a Congress spokesperson, about the controversy.
What was this jurist conference where Nusrat Mirza was present and which Mr Ansari attended?
These are regular conferences which are organised by the Bar Council of India. We (the office of the vice president) had nothing to do with it.
At this conference, the Chief Justice of India was invited and so was the then vice president of India who was told to inaugurate the function as the chief guest.
Whenever a chief guest inaugurates a seminar he has no role in deciding the guest list. So this question needs to be put to the Bar Council of India who organised that function.
Are you categorically stating that Mr Ansari in no way invited Pakistani journalist Nusrat Mirza to the event?
He has himself issued a statement on this. There was no invite for Pakistani journalist Nusrat Mirza from Vice President Ansari while he was in the post or after he demitted office. He never invited Nusrat Mirza. He never met him and he does not know him.
Why did Mirza take Mr Ansari’s name during the interview? Why did he target Mr Ansari?
Firstly, I am not the spokesperson for Nusrat Mirza. Secondly, if you listen to the interview, he nowhere says Hamid Ansari invited him to India.
In the interview, he said he attended one of the seminars in India where Hamid Ansari was the speaker.
Now does it make sense that the BJP went to town that Hamid Ansari invited Nusrat Mirza to India? The answer is No.
Nusrat Mirza was just one of the audience and not even a participant in the programme held at Vigyan Bhavan.
And in the event if Nusrat Mirza was one of the participants, then this question should be put to the Bar Council of India.
The BJP is not asking questions to the Bar Council of India, but asking Hamid Ansari who had absolutely no role in calling participants to that function.
What does it say about today’s politics as this is a grave charge against the former vice president?
This is a highly condemnable act by the BJP. They are acting like a pedestrian party. They do not realise that they are in power today.
A person like Hamid Ansari has been the vice president of India, a diplomat in various countries representing India and fighting for the Indian cause throughout his life.
If such people’s credentials and commitment to the integrity of India and service to the nation are ignored by the people who are in power today, then it sets a very wrong trend.
Tomorrow, you will question every single patriot who is quietly working for this country.
Nations do not exist without a reason. They exist because somebody is working for the success of the nation and honestly. These people are diplomats and bureaucrats who are quietly doing their job. And when the ruling party or government questions them, then it sets a very wrong precedent.
How do you serve the integrity of the person who has served this country? Instead of honouring (Mr Ansari), you are accusing of him of baseless allegations. This is highly condemnable and should be rejected by every single patriot of the country.
You mentioned on television that Mr Ansari in the past mooted the idea of resettling Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmir. Why do we as a nation never know about these things unless you start speaking about it?
Before the current regime came to power people use to do their work because it was their duty. They used to be in some position and they quietly did their work.
The entire concept of doing propaganda around each and every work is a recent phenomenon which started in 2014 (after Prime Minister N D Modi came to power). In this scheme of things, work is not important, but propaganda is important.
And do you think India has become such a strong, leading, nation of the world in the last 75 years without anybody doing any work?
Earlier, the people in power used to do their job as they were duty-bound.
Hamid Ansari’s job was to do what he was entrusted with.
After the demolition of the Babri Masjid and the collapse of the Soviet Union, Pakistan tried to revive the resolution in the United Nations against India on Kashmir as it wanted to internationalise the Kashmir issue.
At that time, Hamid Ansari was India’s permanent representative at the UN. The entire diplomatic community of India knows that Hamid Ansari defeated that Pakistan resolution on Kashmir in the UN. And he did it once and for all. This was in 1992-1994.
What did he do to resettle Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmir?
The then prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh set up a round table conference regarding what to do and how to go about in Kashmir. Hamid Ansari was one of the persons at that meeting and it was his report that spoke of bringing back Kashmiri Pandits to the Kashmir Valley.
It was his report which laid down the required steps for Kashmiri Pandits returning to the Valley.
His report mentions jobs to be given to Kashmiri Pandits, giving their children reservations in central universities by offering them financial aid.
His recommendations were accepted and then that package was rolled out in 2008.
You google it and you will get the report on that It is there on the Internet for everybody to see.
He is a man who in the past was entrusted with various jobs which he did successfully and today you are questioning his integrity.
A person who defeated Pakistan in the UN has sadly been told to answer these baseless allegations.
He was the vice president of India for 10 years. And you think you can question the integrity of the vice president of India over the allegations which were not even made by Nusrat Mirza, but the BJP makes those allegations.
What is the BJP then doing sitting in power today?
What is the job of the prime minister of India or the home minister of India today? They should have called that file, read it and laid the matter to rest.
It is not a small matter as you are accusing a former vice president of India of spying for Pakistan and you go on to address a press conference.
If the BJP was serious, then they should have done their homework in the government as they are running the government today.
They are not doing it because they know there is no allegation.
Nusrat Mirza never said that Hamid Ansari met him or shared any information with him (in that interview).
Why is the BJP targeting Hamid Ansari?
Every Indian knows why the BJP is targeting Hamid Ansari.
Every single Indian who is interested in politics knows the answer, that the BJP has two to three approaches to governance.
The number one is propaganda and number two is diversion.
The BJP creates issues to divert attention from real issues like the economy and unemployment.
Third, they have created easy targets like people who belong to a certain community or those people who oppose the policies and ideology of the BJP.
They try to rally hatred towards their targets and it is a very simple thing for them.
I don’t think this is a question you should be asking me because any person who has an interest in Indian politics of today knows this answer.
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