Antulay remarks prompt NDA walkout from Rajya SabhaDecember 19th, 2008 - 5:54 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Dec 19 (IANS) Charging Minority Affairs Minister A.R. Antulay with speaking for Pakistan’s spy agency ISI, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Friday walked out of the Rajya Sabha and demanded that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh take action against the minister.Speaking to reporters in Parliament House Friday, Antulay refused to confirm or deny that he had quit over his remarks Wednesday suggesting that slain Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief Hemant Karkare was a “victim of terrorism plus something” and that the officer’s killing Nov 26 during the Mumbai terror attacks could be linked to his probe into the Malegaon blasts.
Raising the issue during zero hour in the Rajya Sabha, the BJP’s S.S. Ahluwalia asked of Antulay, who was not present in the house: “Are you speaking on behalf of (alleged mob boss) Dawood Ibrahim or the ISI?”
In this context, he pointed to Pakistani TV channel News One’s coverage of the Mumbai attacks during the course of which it said “Hindu organisations” had staged them to draw attention away from the arrest of Sadhvi Pragnya Singh Thakur and a serving Indian Army officer for their alleged role in the Malegaon blasts.
“Why has the prime minister not asked Antulay for an explanation?” Ahluwalia demanded.
“I find it surprising that Antulay is questioning the Mumbai attacks,” he added.
According to Manohar Joshi of the Shiv Sena: “The role played by News One is now being performed by a cabinet minister. He should immediately resign.”
With no response coming from the government, the entire opposition walked out of the house.
Antulay had told reporters Wednesday: “Superficially speaking they (terrorists) had no reason to kill Karkare. Whether he (Karkare) was a victim of terrorism or terrorism plus something, I do not know.”
“Karkare found that there are non-Muslims involved in the acts of terrorism during his investigations in some cases. Any person going to the roots of terror has always been the target,” he maintained.
“There is more than what meets the eye,” Antulay added.
The Congress party immediately distanced itself from Antulay, saying it “certainly does not subscribe to his remarks or with his formulation”.
“He made the remarks in his individual capacity,” party spokesperson Abhishek Manu Sanghvi told reporters hours after Antulay made his remarks.