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December 31, 1999
Two turn up at PM's all-party meet
The all-party meeting convened by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee tonight after the release of hostages ended in a damp squib with only two leaders attending the meeting.
Both of them expressed serious reservations over the government handling of the hijack of Flight 814.
While Bahujan Samaj Party chief Kanshiram was forthright in terming it a ''monumental failure'' on the part of the Vajpayee government, Congress leader Dr Manmohan Singh said the nation has to ponder over the repercussions of the release of three militants.
Both Singh and Kanshiram told reporters after a 30- minute meeting with Vajpayee that they were only told of developments which the media has already reported.
Kanshiram said the prime minister agreed with him that the release of militants could lead to future blackmailing. the country has paid a heavy price at Kargil and now at Kandahar. Recurrence of such episodes does not augur well for the country and the government should think about the consequences, he observed. Failure of the government was obvious, he said adding action should have taken at Amritsar itself.
The BSP leader said though he was officially told by the prime minister that only three militants were released in exchange of the hostages, he has information that one more militant has also been freed.
Singh, who was not very vocal in his reaction, said his party was relieved that the hostages have been released but the nation has to ponder over its impact on its security and the fight against terrorism.
NIGHTMARE ON FLIGHT 814
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