Babri, Kalia: Jaitley snaps at Malik

Last Updated: Wed, Dec 19, 2012 18:08 hrs

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley on Saturday hit out at Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik for his comments on 1993 Babri Masjid demolition and the issue of Captain Saurabh Kalia who was killed in the 1999 Kargil War.

Speaking on the issue of Captain Kalia, Jaitley told media: "He (Malik) was not expected to speculate on Captain Kalia. If he didn't know, why did he have to blame the weather."

Jaitley said ´Indian minister´ should have immediately ´contested´ Malik´s remarks on Babri Masjid demolition.

"It is strange and unfortunate that the Pakistani Minister has just at the commencement of the visit seen to be commenting on cross border terrorism emanating from Pakistan and in the same breath speaking in terms of domestic developments in India," the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha told media.

"Well, those comments are completely unfortunate, uncalled for and should have really been rebutted by the Indian Ministers present there," Jaitley said.

"It is regrettable that they went unchallenged. Particularly, when the comments have come from the representative of a nation, which has a dismal track record in relation to its own religious and ethnic minorities and their rights," he said.

Malik, who is on a three day visit to India operationalized a more liberal visa regime, triggered controversies on Friday for his remarks on Babri Masjid demolition and Captain Kalia.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Malik said: "When the war is going on, on the border we don´t exactly know what happened - whether he (Captain Kalia) was killed by a Pakistani bullet of it was the weather."

Defending his remarks, Malik on Saturday said India never raised "till yesterday" with his country the issue of torture of Captain Kalia who was killed in the 1999 Kargil War, but assured an investigation into the matter.

"This incident happened 15 years back in Kargil. It was never raised with the Government of Pakistan. It was never on agenda," said Malik in an interview to NDTV aired on Saturday.

Malik said media cannot set the agenda of talks between India and Pakistan by raising this issue and such stumbling blocks should not come.

"Please create positivity. Be a stakeholder," he urged media.

He said his remarks on 1993 Babri Masjid demolition issue were ´misunderstood´.

Malik said he never compared the Babri Masjid demolition incident with terror attacks.

"I never compared the demolition of the Babri Masjid to 9/11 or the Mumbai attacks," Malik said.

"I want people of India to know my statements have been misunderstood. When I mentioned Babri Masjid I was talking of inter-faith harmony in our region," he said.

Dragging himself into a controversy on the Babri Masjid demolition incident, Malik on Friday said, "We do not want any 9/11, 26/11, any Samjhauta Express blast or any Babri Masjid demolition."

More from Sify: