The Congress on Friday raked up the >post-Godhra riots issue against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, latching onto the claims by former RAW chief A.S. Dulat to demand that Mr. Modi apologise for the communal violence in 2002 when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat.
The party also questioned BJP’s commitment to fighting terrorism and alleged it was wearing a “mask of nationalism”.
Citing certain claims by Mr. Dulat including on the “goof up” in the IC-814 hijack in 1999, he accused the ruling party of always compromising with terrorists and terrorism.
Party spokesman Ajoy Kumar launched a scathing attack on Mr. Modi, saying: “Dulat says that former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee believed that he lost the 2004 elections in view of the Gujarat riots... Bharat Ratna Vajpayee has clearly condemned... the shameful incidents of 2002.”
He said it was Mr. Vajpayee who had reminded “Chief Minster Modi to follow raj dharma ”.
“Will Narendra Modi respect the words of the Bharat Ratna and apologise to the country for 2002?” Mr. Kumar asked, talking to reporters.
Mr. Kumar said the interview by former chief of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) has brought “certain disturbing facts” into the open, including that the Vajpayee government was in “active communication” with the Hizbul-Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin and even admitted his son in a medical course.
“It shows the pseudo-nationalism of the BJP... Whenever in power, it has compromised with terrorists and terrorism,” he alleged, adding that Salahuddin and his organisation were responsible for the killings of thousands in the country.
Turning to the IC-814 hijack, the Congress spokesman said Mr. Dulat believed that the Crisis Management Group (CMG) “failed miserably” and allowed the plane to leave Amritsar which led to the release of three dreaded terrorists.
Noting that senior leaders in the then government were part of the CMG, Mr. Kumar said that it needed to be clarified as to as to the circumstances under which the plane was allowed to leave Amritsar and who was responsible for the decision.
If the plane had been halted at Amritsar, it would have saved the lives of a large number of innocent persons, he said, adding that three dreaded terrorists, including Masood Azhar, had had to be released to secure the release of the passengers of the hijacked plane.
He said that the tradeoff proved costly as the release of the three terrorists resulted in the killing of thousands of people, Masood Azhar leading the campaign of hate from Pakistan.