Friday, 3 July 2015
Former RAW Chief AS Dulat expose Kashmiri leaders
Former RAW Chief AS Dulat expose Kashmiri leaders
‘Delhi felt Mehbooba had militant links…Vajpayee reneged on promise to make Farooq VP’
EX-RAW CHIEF AS DULAT: ‘Mirwaiz ambitious but fears Pakistan; Vajpayee didn’t want Mufti to be CM in 2002; Mufti’s dream has always been to defeat Farooq’
In a startling revelation, former head of India’s intelligence agency R&AW, A S Dulat, Thursday said the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was against making Mufti Muhammad Sayeed the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir because of “grave doubts that his daughter Mehbooba Mufti had militant links.”
He also said the chief of Hizbul Mujahideen, Syed Salahuddin sought a favour from Intelligence Bureau (IB) that his son be given a medical seat in a college in Kashmir which was agreed to.
In a detailed interview to India Today this evening, Dulat—considered to be a point-man in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) when Vajpayee was the Prime Minister—said in 2002, Vajpayee, then Prime Minister, advised Sonia Gandhi against making Mufti Sayeed the chief minister. “This is because Delhi at that time had grave doubts about Mehbooba Mufti. They believed she had links with the Hizbul Mujahideen and Jamaat. As a result during a visit to Srinagar in April 2003, Vajpayee insisted that Mehbooba should not be on the stage with him and Mufti Sayeed,” Dulat said.
He revealed that Vajpayee wanted to make Farooq Abdullah as Vice President but reneged on the promise. “This was part of an idea Vajpayee had to make Omar Abdullah Chief Minister of Kashmir whilst making his father Farooq Vice President,” he said.
Dulat claimed that Syed Salahuddin, the head of Hizbul Mujahideen and Jihad Council, “once contacted the head of IB (intelligence bureau) in Srinagar (K M Singh) to ask for a place in a medical college for his son which Farooq Abdullah, then Chief Minister, arranged.”
“There are frequent instances of IB and R&AW doing such favours for militants, including those in Pakistan. In this instance it was part of what could have been an attempt to lure Salahuddin back which didn’t succeed,” he said.
Dulat said the offer to make Farooq Abdullah Vice President happened at his Delhi residence at a private dinner and was made on Vajpayee’s behalf by Brajesh Mishra. Later, he said, Farooq told him that both L K Advani and Vajpayee had reconfirmed the offer. “However, Farooq always had doubts whether Vajpayee would fulfil this promise. He told me ‘I don’t trust them. I don’t trust Delhi’,” Dulat said.
Ultimately, Vajpayee reneged on the promise, because, Dulat said, “people in Delhi felt Farooq was unreliable. They even suggested he would not spend time in the RajyaSabha. The other problem was that Farooq becoming Vice President was part of an arrangement whereby Krishan Kant would become President. When the latter didn’t happen the promise to Farooq fell by the wayside. Farooq felt bitter. He felt let down.”
‘SAXENA CALMED FAROOQ ADBULLAH’
Dulat recounted in detail how the Crisis Management Group in 1999 mishandled the hijack of IC 814.
Dulat was a member of the CMG and head of R &AW then. He said they lacked focus and leadership and, therefore, were unable to give orders for the plane to be detained in Amritsar. They carried on debating and the plane flew away. He said the CMG “goofed”. He said it bungled.
Dulat recounted the “fury and anger” of Farooq Abdullah when he was informed that three militants had to be released as part of the IC 814 deal. He said “Farooq ventilated his anger for three hours and then stormed off to meet Governor Saxena intending to resign. However, Governor Saxena calmed him down over two glasses of whisky and Farooq, eventually, accepted the situation and agreed to the release of militants.”
‘SALAHUDDIN CONTACTED IB’
Dulat also recalled how on one occasion Syed Salahuddin, head of the HizbulMujahideen, contacted the IB head in Kashmir, K M Singh, to help his son get into medical school and how Singh approached Farooq Abdullah who did the needful. Dulat said it’s not unusual for IB and R & AW to do such favours for militants and “terrorists”. He said it often happens. “Sometimes it’s a way of maintaining contacts.”
‘MIRWAIZ AMBITIOUS, BUT LACKS COURAGE’
Dulat also said Mirwaiz Umar Farooq “lacks political courage”. “He is scared he could be killed, and scared of the ISI and Pakistan.”
“He has a great future. He has a constituency. (But) because of the fact he has been under threat… his father was killed. His uncle was killed. His family has great concern for him. Pakistanis are holding his career back. I told my friends in Pakistan that you are doing great disservice to Mirwaiz. He fears for his life and fears Pakistan. But he has ambition.”
‘MUFTI WANTED FAROOQ AT DINNER’
Dulat said Mufti Sayeed has a complex about Farooq Abdullah. “He is in awe of him.”
Dulat said Mufti sees himself as socially inferior. “Mufti’s dream has always been to defeat Farooq Abdullah.”
Giving details of a dinner in 1995, which Mufti asked him to arrange so that he could meet Farooq and improve their relationship, Dulat said, Farooq deliberately came late making Mufti jittery and nervous. “This was Farooq’s way of showing he was superior. It was one-upmanship.”
“However, in apparent contradiction, in the mid-90s Mufti believed that the only person who could restore democracy in Kashmir was Farooq Abdullah. This was when Mufti was in limbo after the collapse of V P Singh’s government. At that point Mufti regarded Farooq as the best future for Kashmir and India,” Dulat said.
ON EX-MILITANT FIRDOUS SYED
“There was one Firdous Syed. He came over ground. He was very close to Shabir Shah. After he came over ground, he came to New Delhi, met two Home Ministers, first MrChawan, and then Mr Gupta. He asked now what for us. He said: ‘Mai to abkahinka b nahiraha’… He wanted accommodation in political system. I went to Farooq Abdullah and told him that he belongs to NC family. He was then accommodated as MLC.”
ON AGRA SUMMIT
Speaking about the Agra summit, Dulat said that a meeting L K Advani had with Gen Musharraf the night before soured the atmosphere. “This is when Advani surprised Musharraf by asking for Dawood Ibrahim. This took Musharraf back and a shadow was cast thereafter on the Agra summit.”
However, at Agra, Dulat said he was told by Brajesh Mishra that they were very close to agreement. “As Mishra put it: ‘Yaar, hote-hoterehgaya … Ho gayatha, who toh.’
He said Vajpayee and Brajesh were palpably disappointed. Dulat also said that Ashraf Qazi, then Pakistani High Commissioner, told him that on three occasions Jaswant Singh had rung the Pakistanis to say a deal was done. But it never happened.
‘GUJARAT KILLING A MISTAKE’
Dulat said Vajpayee in 2004, after losing the elections, told him that the Gujarat killings of 2002 were “a mistake”. “Vajpayee’s exact words were: “Wohhamare se galtihui”. Dulat said the pain and grief on Vajpayee’s face was clearly visible.
‘MISHRA WAS POWERFUL THAN ADVANI’
Dulat speaks at length about Brajesh Mishra and said he “virtually ran the government” during Vajpayee’s prime ministership. He said Mishra was more powerful than the home minister. He said this made for an uncomfortable relationship between Mishra and L. K. Advani. He said Vajpayee readily acquiesced to this power arrangement which made Brajesh Mishra more powerful.
‘MUFTI LOVES WHISKY’
In the interview Dulat has revealed that Mufti Sayeed “loves his Black Label Whisky”. He called him “a tippler” and said that once upon a time the Mufti was called “Mufti Whisky”. Now, however, Dulat said the Mufti has given up drinking. (AGENCIES)