In an exclusive interview to India Today, ahead of the launch of his memoir “Kashmir: The Vajpayee Years, Dulat labels Mehbooba Mufti, President of People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed and Farooq Abdullah, President of National Conference as the three musketeers.
Talking about Vajpayee’s BJP, PDP and the mistrust, he said the 2002 Jammu and Kashmir Assembly elections were deemed to be orchestrated by some ex-territorial forces to make it success. So, he claims, the kind of ‘help’ Mufti Sayeed received was “doubtful” to New Delhi.
It seems the PDP truffle, in late 90s, was made by toxic baker Hurriyat Chief Syed Ali Geelani, a popular pro-freedom figure in Kashmir, as he said, the foundation of PDP was laid down with Geelani’s assistance; he also helped Sayeed in winning seats in the 2002 elections.
In groundbreaking efforts to initiate talks with Pakistan, Dulat recalls Vajpayee’s visit to Kashmir in 2003. A public meeting was staged with an agenda to extend a hand of friendship to Pakistan. On the day, he said, where Vajpayee and Sayeed shared the stage, Mehbooba Mufti too wanted to join in, but she was denied.
“Vajpayee insisted that Mehbooba should not be on the stage with him and Mufti Sayeed,” said Dulat.
He says that it was because, at that time New Delhi had trust deficit on PDP’s Mehbooba Mufti, as they had “grave doubts” about her “links with Jamaat and Hizbul Mujahideen,” an indigenous militant outfit in Kashmir since 90s. Also, he said, the 2002 elections, they thought, were orchestrated by Hizbul Mujahideen.
Now here, the ex-RAW Chief either stole Mehbooba Mufti’s thunder or sold them out or he is out selling woof tickets to increase the market value of his upcoming memoir.
Or, is it propaganda to beat the running political players in Kashmir. Will it go in vain or will it bewilder masses and infuse further mistrust. That has to be seen.
Ex-Raw Chief’s disclosure, so far, looks more hypothetical, as it revolves around ‘uncertainty’ of Mehbooba Mufti’s “links” with the militants, Geelani-militants in a joint effort gave birth to People’s Democratic Party, maybe he has something extraordinary in his book, as proof.
Cock and bull story
Dulat draws a single line where he queues –
1989 kidnapping of Rubaiya Sayeed, daughter of Mufti Sayeed by ‘militants’ for release of their 5 associates.
1998, formation of People democratic party backed by Geelani,
2002, state Assembly election again orchestrated by Geelani and ‘militants’.
2003, Vajpayee and Mufti sharing stage to reconcile with Pakistan, keeps Mehbooba Mufti backstage.
It looks more like a cock and bull story, where PDP seems to be product of militants and Geelani. Moreover, Geelani has always been accused of working as offshoot of Pakistan. So directly, indirectly Pakistan-Geelani-militants-
Dulat surely was a part or particle in the entire scene, as a RAW Chief or they all were partners in crime.
Well, in 2014, in a statement, Hurriyat Chief Syed Ali Geelani called off electoral boycott saying, “the role of National Conference, Congress, People’s Democratic Party and BJP is dangerous and harmful for the Kashmir cause and all of them are using Kashmir cause as an election card.” It appears Geelani-Mufti friendship is out of order, these days.
Nevertheless, on swearing-in as Chief Minister, Mufti Sayeed did credit Hurriyat, Pakistan, militant outfits for creating a “conducive atmosphere” during 2014 elections.
Dulat, in his revelation, also talks about the same clan effect in politics. He said Syed Ali Geelani and Mufti Sayeed, both, are “Pirs”. It is this clan from where the religious preaching comes, mostly. He said it “explains their proximity” however in Kashmir, he says, most people believe that “Pirs are frauds.”
Flight IC 814 hijack and whisky
In his striking revelations, Dulat, avowedly, mentions the role of Whisky.
In 1999, Indian Airlines flight IC 814 was hijacked by a Pakistan based militant outfit, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen. The hijacked aircraft was flown to several locations Amritsar, Lahore, and Dubai; finally they landed up in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
At that time, Dulat was member of Crisis Management Team and head of RAW, he recalls incompetency of the Crisis Management Team in handling the hijack. He said that due to lack of “focus and leadership” the plane flew way from Amritsar. They missed the opportunity to detain the flight in Amritsar.
The motive behind hijacking was the release of three militants held hostage in Indian prisons.
Dulat said, Farooq Abdullah, the then Chief Minister was informed to fix the hijack deal with the release of three militants, which made him furious. However, the whole hijack scene was brought under control with “2 glasses of whisky” offered to Abdullah by the then state governor, also retired director RAW, ‘Gary’ Saxena (Girish Chandra Saxena). He said, Abdullah, eventually, was calmed down and militants were released.
Meanwhile, Dulat, in his disclosure, also takes Mufti Sayeed on ‘whisky’ board, but gives an immediate update on his drinking habits that he has quit drinking.
Who drinks whisky and who gets the high, Dulat knows well how to sell someone out.
Is his memoir a propagandist tool?
Retorting to Dulat, the ruling People’s Democratic Party’s senior leader, and J&K Education Minister Naeem Akther told a local daily that the entire aim is to “protect” and “resurrect” National Conference, for that matter Farooq Abdullah or Abdullah scion, “even if people (Kashmiris) reject them”. He said “Abdullahs need such lifelines.”
Dulat’s book is well projected lie, says Hurriyat. On Geelani’s role in creation of PDP, as claimed by him, the Hurriyat spokesman, reported in a local daily rebuffs, “PDP is not creation of Geelani Sahib but it was set up by Indian agencies. Hurriyat has got Information from reliable sources that the decision regarding creation of this party was taken at the residence of a top IB officer.”
Whether Dulat’s disclosure will tick current politics of Kashmir or it will just remain as a preamble of his memoir, is yet to be seen. Kashmir, however, remains at receiving end of such negativity.
Nevertheless, in politics it is said that – if you can’t ride two horses, you have no right to join the circus.