The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Invite cloud on RSS Pak trip

New Delhi, Aug. 6: An RSS delegation’s trip to Islamabad to attend the Indo-Pak conference organised by the South Asia Free Media Association appears uncertain. RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav said the organisers have not yet sent the invitations for the conference slated to start this weekend.

The Sangh has deputed three members — former spokesperson M.G. Vaidya who is now based in Nagpur, Muzaffar Hussain from Mumbai and K.P. Aggarwal from Lucknow — to attend the seminar.

Although Madhav clarified that they were visiting Islamabad in their “personal capacities” and not as Sangh swayamsevaks, RSS sources said efforts were on from their end to secure a passport for Vaidya. Sources also said the free media association was approached by top RSS functionaries who wanted to know why the invites had not arrived. Nobody from the host organisation was available for its version.

“There is still no formal invitation. The passport office informed Vaidya that it could issue a passport within 10 days but only if the invitation was shown. What to do'” asked sources close to him. Vaidya is visiting his village in Maharashtra and could not be contacted.

Madhav said he had no idea whether Hussain and Aggarwal would travel or not.

The association had initially approached the RSS through Pondicherry governor K.R. Malkani, who was associated in the past with India-Pakistan jamborees.

Malkani promptly wrote to RSS sarsanghchalak K.S. Sudarshan, whose initial response was reportedly “enthusiastic”.

The RSS’ contention was if Pakistan Opposition leader Fazl-ur Rehman, a known hardliner from the Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam, could travel to India and talk “peace” with everyone, including its own members and those of the VHP, there was nothing “incongruous” in despatching delegates on a similar mission.

Sudarshan had initially decided to send the high-profile Madan Das Devi but later had a change of heart for fear that Devi’s presence may not go down well with the Sangh constituency.

As a compromise, it decided on three names that straddled the world between the RSS and journalism “quite comfortably”. Vaidya, Hussain and Aggarwal are regular contributors to the RSS mouthpieces.

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