Meenakshi Lekhi, the Minister of State for External Affairs on Saturday (9 December) refuted claims that she had signed a response credited to her in the Lok Sabha.
This response was in relation to a query about whether the Union government had any proposal to declare the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas as a "terrorist organisation".
The query and its response can be found on the Lok Sabha and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) websites.
Congress MP Kumbakudi Sudhakaran asked, “Will the Minister of External Affairs be pleased to state (a) whether the government has any proposal to declare Hamas as a terrorist organisation in India, if so, the details thereof and if not, the reasons therefor; and (b) whether the Government of Israel has raised any demand to the Government of India to declare Hamas as terrorist organisation, if so, the details thereof?”
According to the document, Lekhi responded by stating that such decisions falls under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act - implying that it fall under the purview of the Home Ministry.
The reply reads: "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."
However, responding to a journalist's post on X, Lekhi, who serves as the minister of state for external affairs and culture and is also the MP from New Delhi, denied having signed or approved any such response on her behalf.
Subsequently, she also called for an inquiry into the matter.
Questions are posed to pertinent ministries by members of both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, to which the respective ministers respond. These replies are then published on the websites of both the relevant ministry and Parliament.
During Question Hour on the House floor, certain inquiries, referred to as starred questions, are raised. The Chair might allow the member to pose supplementary queries as well. Nonetheless, this particular question was not starred.
Attempts to contact Lekhi and the Lok Sabha Secretariat office through phone calls, text messages, and emails were made by ThePrint, but no response was received at the time of publishing this report. The report will be revised upon receiving a response.
In October this year, Israel urged India to designate Hamas a terror group, after the Palestinian group’s devastating attacks on Israel on 7 October.
While India has condemned the 7 October terror attacks, it is yet to declare Hamas a terrorist organisation.
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