The Congress on Friday used former Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) chief A S Dulat’s book to target the BJP — focussing on his remarks on the Gujarat riots and the Kandahar hijack.
According to Dulat, former Prime Minister A B Vajpayee believed the 2002 Gujarat riots was a “mistake”. The former R&AW chief also said the authorities “goofed up” during the 1999 Indian Airlines hijack.
“The foundation of terrorism, not only in India but in the entire world, (was laid) when three terrorists were let loose by a soft government led by the BJP,” Congress spokesperson Tom Vadakkan said on Friday.
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“The BJP government created a permanent security threat to the country in the shape of Jaish-e-Muhammad which Maulana Masood Azhar founded in Pakistan. These released terrorists were among those who engineered the attack on Indian Parliament in 2008, 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks and several other ‘bleeding cuts’ to our nation,” he said, accusing the BJP of practising “false nationalism” and “fake patriotism”.
He said the BJP and the Prime Minister should tender an unconditional apology to the nation for having aided, abetted and favoured anti-India elements.
Another spokesperson, Ajoy Kumar, focussed on Dulat’s remarks on Vajpayee’s reported reaction after the 2004 Lok Sabha elections. According to the book, Vajpayee, while referring to the Gujarat riots, said, “Woh hamare se galti hui”.
“Bharat Ratna Vajpayee has clearly condemned the shameful incidents of 2002… will Narendra Modi respect the words of the Bharat Ratna and apologise to the country for 2002,” Kumar asked.
The BJP hit back at the Congress for raking up the Gujarat riots for its “political survival”. “I think time as well as all that has happened has made that question completely irrelevant. Congress has used every method and every strata of the administration, as well as the courts and every court, including Supreme Court, has done 10 years or more of the most thorough investigation… and found nothing against the present honourable Prime Minister. In fact, Congress should apologise for raising questions about his integrity,” said BJP national spokesperson M J Akbar.
Akbar also rejected Dulat’s claims about a “goof-up” in handling the hijack, and said the decision to save the Indians on board the plane was taken after consultations with everyone. “On Kandahar, consultations were held at the highest level by senior leaders of NDA. It was a national crisis. In the spirit of the Vajpayee government, consultations were held with all the parties,” he said.
“Since the Congress has raised it, I challenge it to answer one question: Should those around 200 Indians have been allowed to die? Please ask them this question and please ask them to respond,” he added.