- Former RAW chief AS Dulat says Indian intelligence agencies paid militants, separatists and politicians in Indian-held Kashmir to compete with Pakistan’s ISI
- Claims MQM chief a ‘guest’ of MI-6, which should also be questioned about MQM’s funding
- Dulat says Hizbul Mujahideen leader Syed Salahuddin ‘was ready to leave Pakistan and return to India’
- Salahuddin rejects allegations, says ‘lies larger than Himalayas’ and an attempt to damage image of Hurriyat leadership to hurt cause of independence movement in Kashmir
In startling revelations that have kicked up political storms both in India and Pakistan, Indian spy agency Research and Analysis Wing’s (RAW) former chief Amarjit Singh Dulat on Saturday told India’s NDTV news channel that Indian intelligence agencies have over the years paid militants and separatists, along with mainstream politicians and political parties in Indian held-Kashmir, to compete with Pakistan’s intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
“So what’s wrong? What is there to be so shocked about or scandalised by. It’s done the world over,” Dulat said, while speaking to NDTV’s high-profile TV anchor Barkha Dutt ahead of the launch of his book, “Kashmir: The Vajpayee Years”.
Dulat refused to comment on the claims of alleged Indian funding to Pakistan’s Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), but he claimed that MQM chief Altaf Hussain was a “guest” of British intelligence agency MI-6 which should also be questioned about MQM’s funding.
Speaking about his controversial memoir, Dulat said the Indian government quite often paid for the air fares, medical treatment and general upkeep of even hardened pro-Pakistan Kashmiri separatists like Syed Ali Shah Geelani.
Continuing with the revelations, the former RAW chief admitted that India’s “spooks” had been in touch with everyone from “separatists and militants”.
Defending the use of money in Indian-held Kashmir, the former RAW chief said it was done in the “hope of engaging militants and separatists and also to compete for influence with the ISI”.
“Corrupting someone with money is more ethical and smarter than killing him,” he added.
Dulat also revealed that he had been in touch with one of India’s most wanted terrorists, Hizbul Mujahideen leader and United Jihad Council chief Syed Salahuddin, who the ex-RAW chief said was ready to leave Pakistan and return to India.
On the other hand, responding to the allegations of receiving Indian funds, Salahuddin rejected Dulat’s claims.
“Dulat has spoken a lie larger than the Himalayas. The reality is that the Kashmir movement is in motion and the popularity of the Hurriyat leadership is ever increasing,” he said, adding that Kashmiri leaders were not only been offered money but also positions by the Indian government, but that the Kashmiri leaders had rejected the offers.
Salahuddin also rejected the former RAW chief’s claims that the Kashmiri leader was willing to travel to India for negotiations. He said that he has been involved in the Kashmir movement for over 28 years and that it was impossible that he would go to India for negotiations.
He said the lies were an attempt to damage the image of the Hurriyat leadership and hurt the cause of the independence movement in Kashmir.
Former RAW chief Dulat’s statement comes weeks after a verbal tirade between Pakistan and India. Recently, Pakistani leaders and the military have been blaming RAW of funding terror activities in Pakistan. In a rare public statement after a meeting on May 6, top military commanders accused RAW of fuelling terrorism in the country.
Dulat’s earlier comments on the 1999 IC-814 hijack and the Gujarat riots in 2002 provoked a new political clash in India, as Congress demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi must apologise to the nation.
Dulat said that the response to the hijack of an Indian Airlines plane on December 24, 1999, was “goofed-up.” He said that no clear instructions were given to immobilize the plane when it landed in Amritsar, because of which the hijackers managed to take the plane to Kandahar in Afghanistan.
In an interview to India Today TV, Dulat also said when then prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s government agreed to release three terrorists in exchange for the lives of the passengers and crew, then Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah “shouted for hours” saying that releasing the terrorists – Mushtaq Latram and Malulana Masood Azhar – would be a mistake.
Dulat, who headed the spy agency till 2000 before he was appointed as Special Advisor in Vajpayee’s office on Kashmir, also says the former prime minister “always believed that 2002 riots was a mistake and the grief was clearly visible on his face”.Congress spokesperson Ajoy Kumar on Saturday said that Dulat’s interview had revealed “disturbing facts” and alleged that the BJP was wearing a “mask of nationalism”.
“They have compromised the interests of the country whenever they have been in power. Who was behind these decisions? Mr Kumar said.