In yet another startling revelation, the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah has said he didn’t feel that Lal Krishna Advani was in favour of releasing the terrorists during the IC-814 aircraft hijack in 1999, adding it seemed that the then deputy prime minister was being pushed into it.
“Let me be very honest, from Advani ji’s voice, I felt he wasn’t in favour of this. I felt that he was pushed into it,” Abdullah said while speaking at a book release function. Abdullah also said that the release had shown India as a ‘weak nation’.
Air India flight IC-814, which was enroute from Kathmandu to New Delhi, was hijacked by the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen terrorist group in 1999 and taken to Kandahar in Afghanistan via New Delhi and Amritsar.
The crisis lasted for a week and ended after India agreed to release three militants – Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and Maulana Masood Azhar. A move that invited criticism from all quarters on the then NDA government led by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. What was more damaging besides the release was that the then Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh accompanied the terrorists on the flight to Afghanistan to secure the release of the hostages.