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Union minister flays Congress, NC for blaming BJP for Masood Azhar’s release in 1999

Jammu | Union Minister Jitendra Singh on Sunday attacked the Congress and NC for blaming the BJP for the terror outfit JeM founder Masood Azhar’s release in 1999, saying the two parties “were part of the decision and will face difficulty if they go into the past”.

The minister also defended the National Investigation Agency’s summons to separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, asking if being a religious leader grants one immunity from law “to receive hawala funds and encourage terrorism”.

Singh accused Congress president Rahul Gandhi and National Conference president Farooq Abdullah of suffering from selective amnesia of history.

“Rahul Gandhi is a victim of selective learning of history, while Farooq Abdullah is a victim of selective recall of history,” he told reporters here, responding to a question on the two leaders’ recent statements blaming the BJP for the release of Jaish-e-Mohammad’s founder Azhar in exchange of the passengers of the hijacked Indian airlines flight IC-814 in Afganistan.

“When the Kandahar incident happened, there was a demand from the entire country for securing the release of the hostages and the then A B Vajpayee government held talks with all opposition parties and moved ahead after getting their consent,” Singh said.

“Among the opposition leaders, the first meeting took place with Rahul’s mother (Sonia Gandhi). That means she was then equally responsible,” added Singh, the minister of state in Prime Minister’s Office.

As far as Abdullah’s statement that the terrorists were released despite his opposition is concerned, Singh said he has forgotten that his party (NC) was part of the then NDA, led by Vajpayee and therefore was equally responsible for the decision of the then government.

“Handling the hijacking incident was the responsibility of the Ministry of External Affairs and Abdullah’s son (Omar Abdullah) was then working as the minister of state (in the External Affairs Ministry),” pointed out Singh.

“He (Omar) had no regret, leave aside resigning under the protest over the decision,” he said.

Singh said the BJP can go back into the history since 1947.

“Let us start from 1947, the first mistake was done by his (Rahul Gandhi’s) great grandfather (Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru) when he forced Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah on the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” Singh claimed.

“Rahul’s grandmother (Indira Gandhi) committed the second mistake when she picked up Sheikh Abdullah from isolation and installed him as the J&K chief minister. Another mistake was done when she engineered a coup to pull down the Farooq Abdullah government and paved the way for Gul Shah (G M Shah) to become the chief minister,” he added.

“The fourth mistake was the 1987 state elections which were rigged by Abdullah, paving the way for terrorism to take roots in the state and his behind-the-veil support and encouragement to Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), one of whose leaders is Yaseen Malik (who was recently arrested under public safety act),” Singh said.

“If they want to go back into the history, they will face difficulty because it will not stop here and will go a long way,” Singh asserted.

Asked about PDP president Mehbooba Mufti’s criticism of the BJP over the NIA’s summons to separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, he said the BJP does not believe in interfering into the working of constitutional bodies.

“If anybody is a religious leader, does it mean he is free to receive hawala money, organise funds for terror activities and encourage terrorism. If NIA has any input, they are free to work as an independent organisation to perform its duties,” he said.

The minister said when the Congress or any group linked to it accuses the BJP of misusing the CBI, NIA or any other constitutional body, it is basically the reflection of their own mentality.

“Over the past 50 years of the Congress rule, they have developed a mind conditioning because they have been misusing the constitutional bodies for their political interests but on the contrary, we support these bodies to work independently,” he said.

He said anyone who is committing a wrong, would face the law irrespective of his religion or status.

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