On Thursday evening in an interview to India Today’s Karan Thapar, former chief of India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) A. S. Dulat revealed some untold stories about Kashmir politics. Dulat’s book – Kashmir: The Vajpaye Years – is set to be released this month. Here are the seven major points about Kashmir that he shared:
- Former Indian Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee wanted to make former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Farooq Abdullah Vice President of India but reneged on the promise.
“However, Farooq always had doubts whether Vajpayee would fulfil this promise. He told me I don’t trust them. I don’t trust Delhi. Ultimately, Vajpayee reneged on the promise. Because people in Delhi felt Farooq was unreliable. They even suggested he would not spend time in the Rajya Sabha. 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. He (Farooq) felt let down. When I conveyed this to Brajesh Mishra and Vajpayee they brushed aside Farooq’s bitterness and said he would be made a Cabinet Minister instead. When I conveyed this to Farooq he said he didn’t believe it. And again this second promise was also not fulfilled.”
- The Hizbul Mujahideen and United Jihad Council chief, Syed Salahuddin once contacted the head of India’s Intelligence Bureau (IB) in Srinagar (K. M. Singh) to ask for a place in a medical college for his son which Farooq, then Chief Minister, arranged.
- In 2002, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, then Prime Minister, advised Sonia Gandhi against making Mufti Sayeed chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir.
- During the India-Pakistan Agra summit in 2001, L. K. Advani in a meeting with Gen. Parvez Musharraf the night before soured the atmosphere. Dulat was told by Brajesh Mishra that they were very close to agreement.
- Farooq shouted at him for “hours together” during their meeting after a decision was taken to release three hardcore militants – among which two, Mushtaq Latram and Maulana Masood Azhar were lodged in Jammu and Kashmir, in exchange for the freedom of the passengers of the hijacked Indian Airlines plane in 1999.
- Daughter of Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, Rubayya Sayeed was never the target of militants in 1989. Dulat was told this by the militant who had planned the kidnapping.
“It was Saffia, Farooq’s daughter whom they wanted to kidnap. But, as Mufti become the Home Minister in the V P Singh government, they (militants) decided to take her hostage.”
- As Advisor in the Prime Minister’s Office, Dulat recalls Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was one such leader who could be roped into the mainstream.