Farooq Abdullah, who refused to make any ‘political statement’ after his release from detention in Srinagar on Friday, is expected to visit New Delhi only after a fortnight or so, and may not attend the Parliament session which is expected to be prorogued on April 3.
The inference was drawn following Karan Thapar’s interview with former RAW chief AS Dulat, who reveals that the Government and the Intelligence Bureau facilitated a ‘private’ and ‘secret’ meeting with the Abdullahs last month. He had spoken to Farooq Abdullah on Friday and was told that the ailing National Conference leader would visit Delhi after a fortnight.
The interview, recorded for The Wire, is expected to be uploaded later on Saturday evening.
His meeting with Farooq Abdullah on February 12 was allowed by the Home Ministry and would have been done with the knowledge of NSA Ajit Doval, says the former RAW chief.
Following his one-day trip to Srinagar, during which he had lunch with the Abdullahs, the MHA called him to ask how the meeting went.
Dulat says Abdullah also expressed concern about the impact of the abrogation of Article 370 and all the subsequent developments in Kashmir on his grandchildren. He said he himself was fully committed to India and had brought up his children in the same way. But now he did not know how to answer questions his grandchildren may ask
Dulat told The Wire that Farooq Abdullah looked tired and was certainly not looking at his best. He confirmed that Farooq Abdullah has had cataract operations in both eyes in the last four weeks.
Dulat, whose book ‘Kashmir: The Vajpayee Years’, reveals that in 2002 Vajpayee and Advani seriously considered making Farooq Abdullah Vice President and discussed this with him. He also told The Wire that the present government felt equally comfortable with Farooq Abdullah.
He also revealed the Modi government tried to form an alliance with the Abdullahs and the National Conference after the 2015 state elections before choosing the PDP as a partner.
At the time Farooq Abdullah was in London and in hospital and the government sent an emissary to meet him. Farooq said that he was unwell and not in a position to decide and referred the emissary to Omar. Dulat concludes that Omar rejected the deal.
Talking about Omar Abdullah, Dulat told The Wire the present government was even more comfortable with Omar than with Farooq. With great confidence, Dulat said Omar Abdullah would be the next Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir i.e. whenever the state elections are held.
Speaking about the general situation in Kashmir, Dulat said he found Srinagar perfectly normal. He said shops were open and there were traffic jams in all the places you would expect to have them. Children could be seen going to schools which, on enquiry, he discovered were actually coaching centres because schools were at the time shut.
Dulat, however, maintained that radicalism has sharply increased in the last 3-4 months in particular. Dulat said the Jamaat-e-Islami, which was originally limited to Sopore and a few other places, has now spread through the Valley. He said there is no doubt that abrogation of Article 370 has fuelled radicalism.
Equally worryingly, Dulat told The Wire he had been told 50 foreigners (Pakistanis, Afghans, Arabs, Turks) had crossed the LoC 3 or 4 months ago and seem to have disappeared. If this report is correct, he is worried that this could be a potential terror threat.
Dulat said that the newly formed Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party is a ‘King’s Party’. He said it can never replace the emotional hold of the National Conference on the Kashmiri people.