Kandahar hijack : Decision taken with ‘consensus’ of all parties, says BJP

New Delhi(ANI): The Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday said that the NDA government under former prime minister Atal bihari Vajpayee had consulted every political party before taking a decision on how to proceed when the Air India Flight IC-814 was hijacked.

“The then-government had consulted every political party when they were taking decisions regarding IC-814. Decisions on the Kandahar hijack were taken at the highest level and everybody was involved in decision making,” BJP leader MJ Akbar said at a press briefing.

“As far as 1999 Kandahar plane hijack was concerned, two things have to be kept in mind. The only concern of the then government under the prime ministership of Mr. Vajpayee was as to how the Indians trapped in the plane, approximately 200, how their safety would be secured. Secondly, whatever decision was taken, was taken after the all party meeting,” BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra told ANI.

“There was consent and consensus among all the political parties of the country then as to how the government would move. Rather than digging into the past we should be happy all those 200 people are present with us and in fact we could secure them,” he added.

Former Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) chief AS Dulat had earlier told a leading English newspaper in an interview that the Crisis Management Group (CMG) had ‘goofed up’ the operation during the handling of IC-814 hijacking. He stated that the hijackers gained an upper hand once the plane flew out of India.

In 1999, IC-814, which was en route from Kathmandu to New Delhi, was hijacked by terrorist group Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and taken to Kandahar in Afghanistan.

The crisis lasted for seven days and ended after India agreed to release three militants – Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and Maulana Masood Azhar.