News

‘Dulat met Farooq Abdullah in Srinagar to check waters’

Srinagar,
Feb 27: Former Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) chief A S Dulat met
incarcerated former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah recently
here but details about their talks are not known, officials said.

Dulat,
a close friend of Lok Sabha member Abdullah, had a long conversation with the
five-time chief minister of the erstwhile state, they said.

When
asked, Dulat denied that any such meeting had taken place. “I have no
comments to offer,” the Indian spy agency’s former chief said.

The
officials said the meeting took place on February 12 at Abdullah’s Gupkar Road
residence, which has been converted into a subsidiary jail by the Jammu and
Kashmir home department.

The
officials, however, down played the meeting, saying it was a courtesy meeting
as the two — Abdullah and Dulat — share a long relationship.

The
former RAW chief had been approaching Jammu and Kashmir authorities for a
meeting with Abdullah, who was taken into preventive custody on August 5 last
year, the day when the Centre announced abrogation of special status to the
state besides its bifurcation into two union territories — Ladakh, and Jammu
and Kashmir.

The
preventive custody was converted into detention under the Public Safety Act on
September 17, initially for three months and later renewed again on December
16.

Dulat
had been sent in 1999 by the then NDA government to convince a reluctant
Abdullah to release Masood Azhar, founder of the banned Jaish-e-Mohammed terror
outfit, in exchange of passengers of hijacked Indian Airlines plane IC-814.

The
Vajpayee government had used Dulat in 1999 because he had handled a similar
situation in 1989 during VP Singh’s government. As station head of the
Intelligence Bureau, he had been tasked to secure the release of five
terrorists in exchange of Rubaiya Sayeed, daughter of the then home minister
Mufti Sayeed, who had been kidnapped by JKLF militants.

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In
his book ‘Kashmir The Vajpayee Years’, Dulat recalled his meeting with Abdullah
in 1999 and wrote “You again You were there during Rubaiya’s kidnapping.
How could you come back again? I said then whatever you are doing is wrong, and
I am saying it again. I don’t agree with it.”

In
his book, he had expressed his close bonding with Abdullah.

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