Even as the Jawaharlal Nehru University is reeling under a major controversy with clashes between students and the government, home minister Rajnath Singh stirred a hornet’s nest on Sunday when he claimed that the JNU event had the backing of Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
“I also want to make it clear that the JNU incident has the support of LeT chief Hafiz Saeed. We should also understand this reality that Hafiz Saeed has supported this incident and it is extremely unfortunate,” Singh told mediapersons.
The home minister’s remarks came two days after the Delhi Police posted a screenshot of a tweet by a handle purportedly belonging to Hafiz Saeed. The tweet called for people outside India to support JNU.
Pakistan’s newspaper The Dawn reported the Hafiz Saeed Twitter handle was fake, as his account had been suspended long ago.
Since the tweet wasn’t verified, many took to social media platforms to echo this:
Was Home Minister comment on Hafiz Saeed link to #JNU protests based on a fake Twitter account? This would be funny if it werent so serious— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) February 14, 2016
A fake Twitter handle of Hafiz Saeed being cited and then used by home minister? Banana republic or what?? Some rationality please.— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) February 14, 2016
1) fake handle of Hafiz Saeed Tweets.2) @gauravcsawant Tweets.
A lot of backlash followed with many demanding Singh produce evidence for his claim, after which the home ministry ‘clarified’ saying Rajnath Singh’s comment were based on inputs from “different agencies“.
Here’s what political class has said about Singh’s comments:
General secretary of the CPIM Sitaram Yechury said:
The Union Home Minister has made a very serious allegation about terrorists ‘backing’ JNU protests. We hope that he has concrete proof.— Sitaram Yechury (@SitaramYechury) February 14, 2016
When we met the Home Minister yesterday, he never mentioned Hafiz Saeed to us but only harped on the slogans being raised at the protests.— Sitaram Yechury (@SitaramYechury) February 14, 2016
Omar Abdullah in a series of tweets, slammed the remark:
Congress leader Digvijay Singh:
Would Home Minister pl clarify on which Agency’s input did he make a statement of JNU’s connection with Hafiz Sayeed ?— digvijaya singh (@digvijaya_28) February 15, 2016