Yesterday, Congress President Rahul Gandhi tweeted a picture of National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval during the IC-814 hijacking and ridiculed him for handing over Masood Azhar. In his tweet, Gandhi questioned the Modi government over the death of 40 CRPF personnel in Pulwama. He further blamed the NDA government for the release of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) Chief Masood Azhar and termed NSA as the “deal maker”, who handed over “the murderer back to Pakistan” but said nothing about Pathankot.
PM Modi please tell the families of our 40 CRPF Shaheeds, who released their murderer, Masood Azhar?
Also tell them that your current NSA was the deal maker, who went to Kandahar to hand the murderer back to Pakistan. pic.twitter.com/hGPmCFJrJC
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) March 10, 2019
However, the Gandhi scion seems to forget numerous facts (which he does most of the times). In 1999, in the wake of infamous Kandhar hijack the then NDA government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee was forced to release Masood Azhar along with two of his associates. The Vajpayee government was under immense pressure, as 154 Indian passengers were there on the hijacked plane. Moreover, the decision to exchange terrorists for hostages was taken by an all-party meet. The then leader of opposition and Rahul Gandhi’s mother Sonia Gandhi was also present in that meeting.
Interestingly, NSA Doval was the one who opposed the negotiations. According to defence journalist, Aditya Raj Kaul, “NSA Ajit Doval had opposed the release of terrorist Masood Azhar during IC-814 hijacking. It’d have meant more casualties unfortunately, but Doval wanted more time to negotiate a way out without release of Azhar. Not sure who fed this story to Rahul Gandhi”.
As per my knowledge, NSA Ajit Doval had opposed the release of terrorist Masood Azhar during IC814 hijacking. It'd have meant more casualties unfortunately, but Doval wanted more time to negotiate a way out without release of Azhar. Not sure who fed this story to Rahul Gandhi.
— Aditya Raj Kaul (@AdityaRajKaul) March 10, 2019
In a similar way, after the terrorist attack at the Pathankot airbase in 2016, former Home Minister under the UPA regime, Sushil Kumar Shinde came up with the same narrative. Accusing BJP of releasing JeM Chief, he added, “The then foreign minister accompanied the terrorists to Kandahar and released them. Since 1999, there has been a belief that India has no strength. Terrorists think they can do anything and they will be released”. It seems that Shinde too forget about the all party meet that was held prior to releasing Masood Azhar. Short memory seems to be a characteristic trait of the Grand Old party.
In contrast to this exchange which happened due to immense public pressure and with consensus of the opposition parties, Congress-led UPA government, barely 2 years after the heinous 26/11 attacks, handed over nearly 25 terrorists to Pakistan in a ‘goodwill gesture’. One of them was Shahid Latif, the Chief handler of fidayeen attack on Pathankot air-base. He was released by India in 2010 as part of the UPA government’s effort to repair ties with Pakistan.
According to a Times of India report, 49-year-old Shahid Latif, who was in an Indian jail for 11 years for acts of terrorism, was among 25 militants belonging to Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen and JeM who were freed on May 28, 2010, as part of the Centre’s outreach to the hostile neighbour. They were lodged in jails in Jammu, Srinagar, Agra, Varanasi, Naini (UP) and Tihar, and were deported to Pakistan through the Wagah border.
It is alleged that Latif’s release was sought by Jaish terrorists, the same bunch of terrorists who hijacked Indian Airlines flight IC-814 and managed to get their main man, Maulana Masood Azhar. Though, NDA government’s hands were tied at the time of IC-814 hijack and they had no other option but to release Masood Azhar, but Vajpayee government had refused to release Shahid Latif and 31 others on JeM’s “wish list”.
As per intelligence sources Latif is considered Masood Azhar’s right hand and holds an important seat in Jaish’s corporate-like hierarchy. Latif heads the Sialkot region as its main handler. He launches JeM cadres into India. In the aftermath of the IC-814 hijacking and the attack on Parliament in 2001 by Jaish modules, Latif was shifted from a J&K Prisons to Varanasi central jail in 2002. According to intelligence reports JeM was mobilizing its units to free Latif from J&K Jail.
Latif currently is NIA’s Most Wanted Man. He is wanted by NIA as the ‘handler’ of the four fidayeen — identified as Nasir Hussain, Hafiz Abu Bakar, Umar Farooq and Abdul Qayum, the ones who executed Pathankot Attack on January 2. It was Latif who arranged the weapons, clothes and shoes of the jihadis apart from SOS injections and medicines, food packets and other logistics.
That the UPA-II was a brazenly corrupt regime is known to one and all but the fact that India was being governed by anti-Indians for 10 long years is shocking. They painted LeT Terrorist Ishrat Jahan as a peace dove. They booked Sadhvi Pragya and Col Purohit under fake charges. They created the “Saffron Terror” lie out of thin air. Rahul Gandhi who seems to be getting more and more troubled and desperate to get back to power has been trying these dirty tricks to castigate PM Modi before the Lok Sabha elections due in April 2019 and ignore his own party’s . Rahul Gandhi has chosen to forget that Congress’s Goodwill gesture led to the Pathankot attack cost us lives of fine men. And now instead of taking responsibility for the ‘good deeds’ of his previous government, he is trying to create a controversy and trying to get political mileage out of it.