Sonia, Farooq were privy to decision on Azhar’s release: Dr Jitendra

Avtar Bhat
JAMMU, Mar 10: Strongly taking on Congress president, Rahul Gandhi and National Conference (NC) patriarch and former Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah for accusing the then Vajpayee Government of releasing Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief, Azhar Masood from Kotbhalwal jail, Union Minister, Dr Jitendra Singh said the decision was taken by the Government of that time in consultation with then Congress chief, Sonia Gandhi as well as Dr Abdullah whose NC was part of NDA Government.
Talking to reporters here, today Dr Jitendra Singh rubbished the statements of Rahul Gandhi and Dr Abdullah and said that both Sonia Gandhi and Dr Abdullah were privy to the decision of releasing JeM chief in 1999.
Taking dig at both Rahul and Dr Abdullah, he said Rahul is suffering from selective learning of history and Dr Abdullah from selective recall of history. He reminded Rahul Gandhi that his mother, Sonia Gandhi was consulted for the decision which was taken for the safety of 350 passengers on board in the Indian aircraft that was hijacked by terrorists to Kandhar in Afghanistan.

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Dr Jitendra Singh said at that time, Farooq Abdullah was part of NDA Government and the decision was taken by External Affairs Ministry in which his son and former Chief Minister of the State, Omar Abdullah was a junior Minister and he too was part of the decision.
He said how the NC is accusing the BJP when Omar Abdullah was on record to state soon after the release of Azhar Masood and other terrorists who had hijacked the Indian Airlines plane to Kandhar that the precedence was set by former VP Singh Government which released five terrorists including Hamid Sheikh in 1989 in exchange of Rubia Sayed, the daughter of then Home Minister and former Chief Minister, late Mufti Mohammed Sayed who was kidnapped by the terrorists from Srinagar.
He said if history will be taken into cognizance then it will be difficult for Dr Abdullah to defend himself as his party was to blame along with Congress for turning J&K into the present mess.
He said if Rahul Gandhi is accusing Vajpayee then his mother and then Congress chief, Sonia Gandhi is also responsible for the decision. Besides, Dr Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah too are responsible for the release of Azhar. While making a scathing attack on NC leaders, he asked why did not they protest at that time or came out of NDA. Instead they did not utter a word in opposition of it at that time”.
The Union Minister said this showed both have no courage of conviction to state truth. He, while targeting Rahul Gandhi and his Congress party, said that first blunder was committed by his great grand father and then Prime Minister, Jawahar Lal Nehru by installing Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah as Prime Minister of J&K in 1947 thereby creating a State within a State. The second blunder was made by his grand mother and then Prime Minster, Indira Gandhi by installing Sheikh Abdullah as CM in 1975.
Dr Jitendra Singh said Congress continued to make blunder after blunders and the third was committed in 1984 when G M Shah was installed as CM by Congress after engineering defection in NC. Another blunder was made in1987 Assembly poll when NC in alliance with Congress rigged the elections in the State opening flood gates for separatists in the Valley which resulted in present crisis in the State and BJP is presently atoning for the sins committed by the two parties since 1947.
Dr Jitendra Singh also accused the Congress and its allies of misusing the Constitutional bodies for five decades for their vested political interests.
Lambasting the opposition leaders for criticizing the NIA action on some separatist leaders, Dr Jitendra Singh said do they mean that certain persons and religious leaders involved in hawala transactions or promotion of terror be allowed to go scot free. He said NIA be allowed to discharge its duty independently instead of interfering in its work.
Dr Jitendra Singh also outrightly refuted the opposition allegations that Election Commission of India (ECI) was working at the behest of BJP. He said it is their mindset of 50 years of rule that they are leveling the charges on the basis of their own experience.
He said BJP believes in democratic principles and it does not interfere in the working of Constitutional and autonomous bodies which have worked independent of Government interference in Narendra Modi’s rule.