The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:
The week-long ordeal for the passengers and crew of the hijacked Indian Airlines flight has ended. The safe return of all those held hostage has relieved the tension and anxiety that the family members and the people underwent during the entire period of the hijacking. However, the way the demands of the hijackers was settled by the Vajpayee government has raised many disturbing questions.
On 27th December 1999, when the government called the all-parties meeting to discuss the hijacking, the agreed statement issued had said that whatever the government decided must be based on two factors: the safety of the passengers and the overall interests of the nation. It is clear that in the resolution of the hijacking issue, the second aspect has been ignored.
The hijacking was organised by the extremist groups based in Pakistan who wish to intensify their violent activities in Kashmir. This is part of the overall plan which began with the largescale infiltration across the line of control in Kargil last year and simultaneously the induction of a large number of armed militants in the valley. The release of the three key jailed leaders of the extremist groups active in the valley was demanded precisely to give a boost to the terrorist activities in Kashmir.
The BJP-led government has, by acceding to the release of the key organisers of such activities, enabled the hijackers to achieve their aims. This portends an intensification of the separatist violence in Jammu & Kashmir. The security forces are apprehensive of the repercussions this act will have.
It is clear, that contrary to the Government's claims, support from the international community could not be effectively mobilised against the hijacking. The role of the Taliban authorities of Afghanistan is also not being depicted correctly in this affair.
The Vajpayee government has provided contradictory and misleading versions during the entire hijacking episode. There was a serious lapse in vigilance at Kathmandu, which is known to be a hotbed of ISI-sponsored activities. The inexcusable bungling in letting the plane take off from Amritsar airport cannot be explained away, as the government has sought to do. It is therefore, essential that a high-level independent enquiry be conducted to uncover all the facts and to pin down responsibility for the blunder.