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December 25, 1999
Govt blasted for dilly-dallying
The Indian government failed to take firm measures in tackling the hijackers, said Major General (retired) Afsar Karim.
In an interview to a television channel, the expert said the government should not have allowed the aircraft to take off from Amritsar. ''Maybe there would have been a couple of casualties, but most of the passengers and crew would have been saved.''
Asked whether the United Nations and other international organisations would be of any help in this regard, he said all that would take time. The situation would not have gone out of hand but for the government's dilly-dallying, he said. ''If Kathmandu was lax, we were even worse,'' he said.
Asked where the aircraft would fly now that the Taliban regime has rejected the hijackers's plea for asylum, he said, ''They won't go anywhere because they are safe there. They are confident that the regime would not ask them to free the passengers and crew.''
K P S Gill, the former Punjab director general of police, in a conversation with rediff.com's Onkar Singh this afternoon, also criticised the government's handling of the hijacking at Amritsar airport. "Why were no roadblocks placed in the way of the aircraft, so that it could not fly away?" he asked. "In April 1993, I had done that, and prevented the hijacked aircraft from leaving Amritsar."
"Now we are helpless. We are dependent on an unfriendly government which does not want to help us," Gill said, adding that the hijackers may have killed Rupin Katyal because he had seen their faces and could have identified them later. "They killed him to destroy that incriminating evidence."
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