Naxal release of kidnapped cop similar to Kandahar, Rubaiya episodes: W.Bengal Home Secretary

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New Delhi, Oct. 24 (ANI): West Bengal Home Secretary Ardhendu Sen has said that the release of kidnapped West Bengal police officer Attindranath Dutta in exchange for 22 Maoist prisoners can be compared to the 1999-2000 Kandahar hijack episode.

Sen reportedly said there was no other option but to give in to the Naxals demand for releasing 22 suspects.

Justifying the decision, Sen said India is a soft state, and that there are precedents in the past.

He cited the release of terrorists in the Kandahar hijack case and the Rubaiya Sayeed kidnapping case.

In the Kandahar hijack case, it maybe recalled that Indian Airlines Flight 814 en route from Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, Nepal, to Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, was hijacked by five Pakistan nationals on December 24, 1999 by the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, a Pakistan-based militant group.

The aircraft was hijacked by armed gunmen shortly after it entered Indian airspace at about 5:30 p.m. After touching down in Amritsar, Lahore and Dubai, the hijackers forced the aircraft to land in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The hijackers released 27 of 176 passengers in Dubai but fatally stabbed one and wounded several others.

India's lack of recognition of the Taliban-regime in Afghanistan complicated negotiations between Indian authorities and the hijackers.

The hijacking lasted for seven days and ended after India released three Islamic militants - Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh (who was later arrested for the murder of Daniel Pearl) and Maulana Masood Azhar (who later founded Jaish-e-Mohammed).

The kidnapping of Rubaiya Sayeed took place on December 8, 1989. It was an act carried out by members of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, a Kashmiri Muslim militant organization.

Rubaiya was the daughter of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, the then Home minister of India in the V. P. Singh government.

The kidnappers then had demanded the release of five of their comrades in exchange for Rubaiya's release.

The government accepted their demands and freed the jailed terrorists.

Rubaiya was kidnapped within five days of her father becoming the first Muslim Home Minister of India. Rubaiya, then 23 years old, was the unmarried third daughter of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. She was then a medical intern at Lal Ded Memorial Women's Hospital.

BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli, however, rejected this premise, saying the Kandahar episode cannot be compared with the prisoner swap that the West Bengal government has been involved with for the release of kidnapped cop.(ANI)

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