Minister disowns Lok Sabha reply to Hamas question

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on multiple occasions has said that the October 7 attacks by the Hamas on Israel were terrorist attacks.

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By Our Special Correspondent

New Delhi, December 9: In an arguably most weird case, Union Minister of State for External Affairs Meenakshi Lekhi has disowned reply given to a question in the Lok Sabha on designating Hamas as a terrorist organization. Lekhi tagged a scribe on X saying that she had not signed any question with “this answer” while also tagging Union Minister for External Affairs S Jaishankar and also the office of the prime minister of India.

A reply to an unstarred question number 980 in the Lok Sabha was given in the name of Lekhi. The Lok Sabha MP Kumbakudi Sudhakaran wanted to know if the government has any proposal to declare the Hamas as a terrorist organization. He also wanted to know if Israel has raised any demand from India to designate the Hamas as a terrorist organization.

The Ministry of External Affairs replied in the name of Lekhi, saying “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.” This reply was available even a day after on the website of as well as the Ministry of External Affairs.

Replying to journalist Sidhant Sibal who posted the reply on X, Lekhi wrote: “You have been misinformed as I have not signed any paper with this question and this answer.” In another post, she claimed that an “inquiry will reveal the cuprit” when she was told by a social media user that Sibal had only posted the document which is still available on the websites of the Lok Sabha and the MEA. It may be noted that replies in parliament are always as a standard practice are given after the approval of the ministers.

A report by the HT on October 26, 2023 quoted the Israeli ambassador in India Naor Gilon raising the demand with India that the Hamas be designated by India as a terrorist organization. Gilon was also quoted by the daily saying that several countries including the US, European Union, and others have designated the Hamas as a terrorist organization.

In an interview to television anchor Rajdeep Sardesai, former Union Minister and senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has refused to call the Hamas a terrorist organsaition. Tharoor had said that India has not yet officially listed the Hamas as a terrorist organisation.

However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on multiple occasions has said that the October 7 attacks by the Hamas on Israel were terrorist attacks. India reiterated the same line saying that the October 7 attacks by the Hamas on Israel were acts of terrorist during the vistual meeting of the BRICS called at the behest of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

On the issue of India’s voting on the issue Palestine at the United Nations, the MEA in a reply to the question in the Lok Sabha maintained that the stance was in line with the stated position of the country. The MEA said in the reply: “India’s policy towards Palestine has been long standing and we have always supported a negotiated two State solution, towards establishment of a sovereign, independent and viable State of Palestine within secure and recognized borders, living side by side in peace with Israel. India has strongly condemned the terror attacks on Israel on 7 October 2023 and also the loss of civilian lives in the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict.”

The MEA further stated in the reply that India remains “concerned at the deteriorating security situation and have called for restraint, de-escalation and emphasized peaceful resolution of the conflict through dialogue and diplomacy. We welcome the humanitarian pauses and the release of hostages and call for release of remaining hostages.”

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