Making technical changes: MEA on question on Hamas in Lok Sabha

New Delhi: A technical correction is being made mentioning V Muraleedharan’s name as the minister who replied to a Parliament question on the designation of Hamas, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Saturday.

The clarification from MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi came hours after Union minister Meenakshi Lekhi said she did not approve any answer to the question.

Both Lekhi and Muraleedharan are ministers of state in the MEA.

Responding to a post on X, Lekhi on Saturday said she did not approve any answer to the question and said an “inquiry will reveal the culprit”.

“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,” Bagchi said.

His response came on media queries on the matter.

The written answer to the unstarred question number 980, uploaded on the Lok Sabha’s website, was attributed to Lekhi.

“You have been misinformed as I have not signed any paper with this question and this answer,” Lekhi said on X in response to a post on the microblogging platform.

The question titled “Declaration of Hamas as Terrorist Organisation” was put out by Congress MP Kumbakudi Sudhakaran.

“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,” the answer to the question mentioned.

Shiv Sena’s (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) Rajya Sabha MP Priyanka Chaturvedi said on X that “is she (Lekhi) 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 @MEAIndia”.

Sudhakaran, who represents Kannur in the Lower House of Parliament, had asked whether the government has any proposal to declare Hamas a terrorist organisation in India; if so, the details thereof and if not, the reasons therefore.

When pointed out that the Lok Sabha and the MEA websites had the answer to the question mentioned in her name, Lekhi said an “inquiry will reveal the culprit”.

“Asking questions that were submitted through someone else led to expulsion of an MP yesterday, today a minister denies that reply to a PQ (Parliament Question) was approved by her, shouldn’t that be investigated too? Shouldn’t it lead to seeking accountability, however innocuous the response from the Ministry of External Affairs?” Chaturvedi asked on X.

“Who logged in for you?” Congress leader Amitabh Dubey asked in response to Lekhi’s post on X.