Seven Inside Stories Of Jammu and Kashmir Politics By Ex-RAW Chief

a s dulat, kargil war
A S Dulat (Photo: India Today)
A S Dulat (Photo: India Today)
A S Dulat (Photo: India Today)

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. 
“Salahuddin rang the IB head in Srinagar for the favour and Farooq Abdullah actually facilitated the admission. However, this was an exceptional case for an exceptional man. In this instance it was part of what could have been an attempt to lure Salahuddin back which didn’t succeed.”
  • In 2002, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, then Prime Minister, advised Sonia Gandhi against making Mufti Sayeed chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir. 
“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 Mr. Vajpayee insisted that Mehbooba should not be on the stage with him and Mufti Sayeed.”
  • 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.
“This is when L. K. Advani surprised Musharraf by asking for Dawood Ibrahim. This took Musharraf back and a shadow was cast thereafter on the Agra summit.” “As Mr. Mishra put it: “Yaar, hote-hote reh gaya … Ho gaya tha, who toh.”
  • 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.
“Farooq felt the decision by the Union Government was a mistake and he stormed off our meeting to call on Governor Girish Chander Saxena with an intention to resign. He (Farooq) shouted at me for hours together saying this was a mistake being committed by the Centre. After he ventilated his anger, he stormed off to meet Governor Girish Chander Saxena with an intention to resign. However, the Governor calmed him down and Farooq eventually accepted the situation and agreed to the release of terrorists.”


  • 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.
“But he is a scared person and fears for his life.”

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