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Chidambaram refuses to criticise NDA over Kandahar hijack

January 22, 2009 15:57 IST

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The National Democratic Alliance government's decision to release dreaded terrorists in exchange for hostages in the Kandahar hijack 10 years ago had come under attack from several quarters.

But at a function in New Delhi [Images] on Wednesday, Home Minister P Chidambaram [Images] refused to criticise the NDA government for the decision, terming it 'a very difficult decision'.

"I do not know how I would have reacted if 150 families came to my door and pleaded that their loved ones in that aircraft must be saved. It is easy to criticise but if one is in that position, it is a very difficult decision," he said.

He was asked about some governments in the world having taken a pledge not to ever negotiate with terrorists and whether India should also embrace that principle.

"It is a wholesome principle but I agree that it is an over-simplification....I am not sure. I don't know whether it can be applied in all situations," Chidamabaram said.

The decision of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government to release three dreaded terrorists including Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar in December, 1999 received a lot of flak from various political parties including the Congress, more so because the then External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh accompanied the terrorists to Kandahar.

Azhar's name has subsequently figured in the December 2001 terror attack on Parliament and the attack outside Jammu and Kashmir [Images] Assembly in Srinagar [Images] in the same month.

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