Meenakshi Lekhi Denies Signing Reply To Parliament Question On Hamas

A purported picture of an 'unstarred question' of declaring Hamas as a terrorist organization is being circulated on social media along with a response from Ms Lekhi on the question.

Meenakshi Lekhi is a Union Minister of State for External Affairs and Culture. (File)

New Delhi:

Union Minister Meenakshi Lekhi today clarified that she has not signed any paper with a question on the declaration of Hamas as a terrorist organization.

The response from the Union Minister comes after a purported picture of an 'unstarred question' of declaring Hamas as a terrorist organization is being circulated on social media along with a response from Ms Lekhi on the question. Meenakshi Lekhi is a Union Minister of State for External Affairs and Culture and an MP from the New Delhi constituency. "We have noted that Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No. 980 answered on December 8 needs a technical correction in terms of reflecting V Muraleedharan as the Minister of State replying to the Parliament question. This is being suitably undertaken,"

The Minister of External Affairs clarified on Ms Lekhi's tweet and said there seems to be a technical error. "We have noted that Lok Sabha Unstarred Question No. 980 answered on December 8 needs a technical correction in terms of reflecting V Muraleedharan as the Minister of State replying to the Parliament question. This is being suitably undertaken,"  MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.

"You have been misinformed. I have not signed any paper with this question and this answer," Ms Lekhi posted on X, tagging External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and the Prime Minister's Office.

Meanwhile, Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Priyanka Chaturvedi responded to Ms Lekhi's clarification and raised concerns over her response and said, "Meenakshi Lekhi ji is denying and disassociating a response attributed to her. She says she has no idea who drafted this as a response to a PQ since she didn't sign it."

"Is she then claiming it is a forged response, if yes this is a serious breach and violation of the rules that prevail. Would be grateful for a clarification from her," Ms Chaturvedi added.

According to the purported PQ, the question was asked by Kumbakudi Sudhakaran, a Congress MP, seeking a response on whether the government of India has any proposal to declare Hamas a terrorist organisation and whether there was any demand raised by the government of Israel for the same.

Israel's Ambassador to India, Naor Gilon, has raised the issue of declaring Hamas a terrorist organization, requesting the Centre to do the same, but the government of India has not declared the Palestinian group a terror organization.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar have raised concerns over the deteriorating situation arising out of the Israel-Hamas conflict and have repeatedly called for "restraint and de-escalation".

"We remain concerned at the deteriorating security situation and have called for restraint, de-escalation and emphasised peaceful resolution of the conflict through dialogue and diplomacy," S Jaishankar said in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha yesterday.

"We welcome the humanitarian pauses and the release of hostages," he added.

Prime Minister Modi met Israeli President Isaac Herzog on the sidelines of the COP28 summit in UAE earlier this month and emphasized a "two-state solution to the conflict".

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