A new controversy over the foreign ministry extending official support to a BJP-liked political outfit in Malaysia has gained fresh momentum after the MEA reportedly refused to withdraw the controversial poster published by Overseas Friends of BJP in Kuala Lumpur.
Quoting sources, the ANI reported that the ministry of external affairs had refused to withdraw the poster saying ‘the question doesn’t arise’ as it had ‘nothing to do with the poster.’
The CPI-M’s general secretary, Sitaram Yechury, on 8 June had raised serious objections to a BJP-linked Malaysia based outfit’s claim of having Indian government’s official support for its unofficial International Yoga Day event.
He even wrote to the foreign minister, Sushma Swaraj, seeking proper probe into the matter.
In his letter, Yechury sought the issue of the outfit, Overseas Friends of BJP, Malaysia, making such a declaration through a poster to be discussed during meeting of the Ministry’s Consultative Committee, of which he is a member.
The poster, Yechury said, declares the organisation’s 19 June event is being supported by High Commission of India, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Ayush and Indian Council of Cultural Relations.
“Supporting activities abroad that strengthen public opinion in those countries about India and spread goodwill is understandable,” he was quoted by PTI.
“But so far as I have known, the Government of India or its Commissions abroad or any of its other arms and institutions do not support the declared activities of political parties abroad…I think this is a very serious matter that needs to be properly investigated,” Yechury said in the letter.
Meanwhile, The Hindu quoted MEA sources as claiming that the controversial event was being organised entirely by the High Commission [in Kuala Lumpur].”
The Malaysia chapter of the BJP-affiliated Overseas Friends, as reported by the paper, said it had no knowledge of how the poster got published.
According to its website, the Overseas Friends of BJP, Malaysia is an outfit that works for “projecting a positive and correct image of India and its people in that country and foreign media, and correct any distortions in the media’s reporting of current events taking place in India.”