Om Namo Venkatesaya

Will US allow Osama anniversary on campus?

Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu is never short of witty punch liners. Known for his trademark one-liners, Venkaiah is at his best when he hit back at US Ambassador Richard Verma's remarks, although indirectly.

Close on the heels of Richard Verma's remark on "free speech" being "the hallmark of democracy both in India and the US", Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday gave a fitting counter in Lok Sabha without taking names. "If the US would "tolerate" any campus meeting on its soil to mark the "Osama bin Laden martyrdom anniversary?," Venkaiah shots back.

Earlier this week, US Ambassador Richard Verma at two meetings in New Delhi and Patna, said that free speech was a "central tenet" of what India and the US "hold dear".

Talking about the alleged anti-national slogans raised at a JNU campus meeting on February 9, the day Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru was hanged three years ago, Mr Venkaiah Naidu set the record straight that India "cannot tolerate such activities in our universities" and "cannot allow our boys to be misled by such fringe elements who are inspired by foreign ideologies, who are inspired by foreign forces"