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BJP not sorry about Kandhar episode

BJP President Rajnath Singh refuses to accept that the 1999 Kandahar episode was a "weakpoint" for the party.

india Updated: Feb 17, 2008 14:39 IST

Under attack from Congress on the Kandahar hijacking episode, BJP is not apologetic about the then NDA Government's decision to free three terrorists and Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh accompanying them to Afghanistan, saying it was a "necessity" at that time.

BJP President Rajnath Singh refused to accept that the 1999 Kandahar episode was a "weakpoint" for the party and it has been pushed on the "backfoot" as Congress is raising questions over the NDA government's approach to terrorism.

"We had to save the lives of so many people (held hostage on the hijacked plane)... It does not mean we compromised with terrorism," he told PTI in an interview amid sustained attack by Congress over NDA government's decision to release three terrorists to end the hijacking crisis.

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Saturday accused the saffron party of "surrendering to terrorists" in 1999.

Five terrorists hijacked IC-814 plane during flight from Kathmandu to Delhi on December 24. At least 154 passengers and crew were held hostage for eight days and the standoff ended when three dreaded terrorists were released and Jaswant Singh took them on a special plane to Kandahar.

Asked whether BJP did not find anything wrong in a minister accompanying terrorists, Rajnath Singh said "considering the sentiments of the nation and people of the country, it was a necessity of that time."