Congress trains guns on NSA Ajit Doval: Attacks him in rallies, digs out 2010 interviewhttps://indianexpress.com/elections/lok-sabha-election-congress-narendra-modi-ajit-doval-rahul-gandhi-jem-masood-azhar-5622673/

Congress trains guns on NSA Ajit Doval: Attacks him in rallies, digs out 2010 interview

Maulana Masood Azhar, the JeM chief was captured by Indian forces and was released in exchange for the passengers and crew of Indian Airlines IC814, which was hijacked by terrorists and taken to Kandahar of Afghanistan

NSA Ajit Doval was part of negotiating team to free the hostages of IC814 flight hijack in 1999. (PTI/File)

The Congress has launched an all-out attack at current National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval, holding him responsible for the 1999 release of Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar who orchestrated the recent Pulwama attack.  From social media to rallies, the party is cornering the BJP over Doval everywhere.

“PM Narendra 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,” Rahul Gandhi had tweeted hours before he controversially referred the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief as “Masood Azhar ji” on Monday (March 11).  “These people with 56-inch chest, you would recall, in their previous government, the current National Security Advisor Ajit Doval went in an aircraft with Masood Azhar ji and handed over Masood Azhar there in Kandahar,” Rahul had told Congress workers in Delhi.

Then, on Tuesday, Congress dug out a 2010 interview of Doval where he is indicting the BJP government for the release of Azhar. A screenshot of the interview is headlined ‘Releasing Masood Azhar was a political decision’. In the tweet, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala asks: Will PM Modi and Ravi Shankar Prasad admit to the anti-national act now?”  Click for more election news

Congress has attacked Doval earlier also, especially after the BJP launched an offensive on the Opposition for demanding to know the terrorist casualty figures in the Balakot strike carried out by the IAF on February 26, ten days after the Pulwama attack.

Rahul Gandhi asks PM to name Doval for Masood’s release

Addressing a public rally in Karnataka last week, Congress chief asked the prime minister to name the person who was responsible for the deadly attack on the CRPF convoy in Pulwama killing 40 jawans and who released him in 1999. “Let Modi make me understand who sent Masood Azhar from Indian jail to Pakistan… I have a small question for Modi. Who killed CRPF jawans? What is the name of JeM chief? His name is Masood Azhar,” the Congress chief said.

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Congress leader quits over party's demand for air strike proof
The senior leader also said that he wrote to Gandhi several times in the last one month, apprising him of the sensibilities of the party workers in the state, but his requests were not entertained. (File photo)

“Why are you not speaking about it. Why are you not saying that the person who killed CRPF jawans was sent to Pakistan by BJP… Modiji we are not like you. We don’t bow in front of terror. Make it clear to people to India who sent Masood Azhar,” Rahul said.

Maulana Masood Azhar was released in exchange for the passengers and crew of Indian Airlines IC814, which was hijacked by terrorists and taken to Kandahar of Afghanistan. The then BJP government led by prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had decided for his release. NSA Doval was part of the negotiating team.

Maulana Masood Azhar, the JeM chief was initially captured by Indian forces and was released in exchange for the passengers and crew of Indian Airlines IC814. (AP)

Doval has been at the centre of the national security and strategic affairs while also facing political heat from the opposition in the last five years of the Modi government. At the height of the tussle between former CBI director Alok Verma and former deputy director Rakesh Asthana, a plea was moved in the Supreme Court by DIG Manish Kumar Sinha alleging that Doval interfered in the investigation against Asthana. The plea was, however, declined by the apex court.

The Indian Express had reported that in his petition, Sinha claimed that two alleged middlemen involved in the case were close to Doval.

India needs a strong government for 10 years: Doval

Doval, who has been close to PM Modi and some of the top leaders of the BJP, had expressed that India needs a strong government for at least 10 years to achieve its political and strategic objectives. Speaking at Sardar Patel Memorial Lecture organised by All India Radio in October last year, Doval talked about the dangers that come associated with governments formed by alliances. “There are plenty of forces more within than outside, who probably are bent upon eroding the will of the nation,” Doval said in his lecture titled ‘Dream India: 2030, avoiding the pitfalls’. “India will have to have governments which are stable, which are decisive which are empowered by the total mandate… Because weak governments are unable to take hard decisions. And for taking India ahead, it will be necessary to take hard decisions,” he added.