“Kashmir: The Vajpayee Years”, the book by former RAW chief have put forth some striking revelations from IC-814 highjack to Gujrat Riots, the politics and the stakeholders.
On Rubayya Sayeed’s Kidnap
Dulat has revealed that the daughter of state Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, Rubayya Syeed was never the target of militants in 1989.
“It was Saffia, daughter of Abdullah whom they wanted to kidnap. But, as Sayeed become the Home Minister in the VP Singh government, they (militants) decided to take her hostage,” he said, adding this was told to him by the militant who had planned the kidnapping.
Militant’s demand of medical seat for son GRANTED!
When in early 1990s, self-styled Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin had called local Intelligence Bureau chief K M Singh and seeked his help in getting his son a medical seat, “Singh approached Abdullah, who was the Chief Minister, and the work was done,” Dulat said
He said that such favours were common in a hope that they will be returned in time.
“This is done world over by all the spying agencies,” he said.
Vajpayee on not allying with Mufti
The book also has a mention of government formation in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in 2003. He recalled that Vajpayee had called on UPA president Sonia Gandhi to ensure that PDP be ruled out of government formation.
The reason, as per Dulat, was that Mufi’s daughter was known to have connections with Terror group in the state and as Sayeed himself sahres a congenial relationship with Jamaat-e-Islamia, the political wing of Hizbul Mujahideen, Vajpayee had confidant issues
Henceforth, during a Srinagar visit in April 2003, Vajpayee insisted that Mehbooba should not be on the stage with him and Mufti Sayeed, he said.
Speaking about the separatist leadership in the state, Dulat said the Mirwaiz Umer Farooq was one such leader who could be roped into the mainstream.
“But he is a scared person and fears for his life,” he said.
About the Sayeed-Abdullah relationship, Dulat claimed that Sayeed has a complex about Abdullah.
“He is in awe of him (Abdullah) and sees himself as socially inferior,” he said.
On Kandahar hijack
The Kandahar hijack was “goofed up” as no one wanted to take a decision fearing loss of life, according to former RAW chief A.S.Dulat.
Dulat, who was a member of the Crisis Management Group handling the 1999 hijack of the Indian Airlines IC 814 plane, said they could not decide that the plane should not leave Amritsar.
“Let me say, we goofed up… what was upper most in everybody’s mind was security of the people,” Dulat said on the Kandahar hijack during an interview on India Today television on Thursday.
“So instead of giving out clear instruction to Punjab police, which was incharge on ground there… nobody was willing to say this plane should never be allowed to leave Amritsar. That nobody said, because nobody was willing to take that call. Everybody thought what will happen if people die,” he said.
The former RAW chief also said that initially the terrorists wanted 105 terrorists to be freed.
“It happened on 30th December, finally a call was taken to release three militants… Initially, they wanted 105 then it came down to 35, to 15 and finally our team that had gone to Kandahar managed to bring it down,” he said.
He also said two of the three terrorists were in Jammu and Kashmir and then chief minister Farooq Abdullah was angry about letting them go.
On Gujrat Riots
Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had said that the “mistake” in Gujarat was the reason for the National Democratic Alliance’s defeat in the 2004 general election, former RAW chief A.S.Dulat has said.
In an interview conducted by Karan Thapar and telecast on India Today TV channel on Thursday, Dulat said Vajpayee admitted Gujarat was a mistake. “You could see the sadness in his (Vajpayee’s) eyes,” he said.
“Gujarat mein humse kuch galti ho gayi (We committed some mistake in Gujarat),” Dulat quoted Vajpayee as saying.
Dulat, whose book, “Kashmir: The Vajpayee Years”, is slated to be released shortly, said BJP leader L.K. Advani, who was the deputy prime minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, was not happy with the way the then principal secretary Brijesh Mishra was given importance by Vajpayee.
“Brijesh Mishra virtually ran the government. He was cool, composed and was the only boss. He had a very sharp mind. Advani felt the principal secretary was more important than the deputy PM and this was the main issue between Advani and Vajpayee,” Dulat said.