The NDA government’s decision to release dreaded terrorists in exchange for hostages in the Kandahar hijack 10 years ago had come under attack from several quarters but Home Minister P Chidambaram is “not sure” saying it is a “very difficult” decision.
“I do not know how I would have reacted if 150 families came to my door and pleaded that their loved ones in that aircraft must be saved. It is easy to criticise but if one is in that position,it is a very difficult decision,” he said at the NDTV’s Indian of the Year Awards function on Wednesday night.
He was asked about some governments in the world having taken a pledge not to ever negotiate with terrorists and whether India should also embrace that principle or was it far too over simplisitic.
“It is a wholesome principle but I agree that it is an over-simplification….I am not sure. I don’t know whether it can be applied in all situations,” Chidamabaram said.
The decision of the Vajpayee government to release three dreaded terrorists including Jaish-e-Mohammad Chief Masood Azhar in December,1999 received a lot of flak from various political parties including the Congress,more so because the then External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh accompanied them (terrorists) to Kandahar.
Azhar’s name has subsequently figured in the December 2001 terror attack on Parliament and the attack outside Jammu and Kashmir Assembly in Srinagar in the same month.