Former Union minister Yashwant Sinha who joined TMC on Saturday narrated how West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had offered to go as a hostage in exchange for passengers of Air India’s IC 814 that was hijacked by the militants over two decades ago. Sinha said this while recalling the Kandahar hijacking of Air India plane on December 24, 1999.
“Id like to tell all of you that when Indian Airlines flight was hijacked and taken by the hijackers to Kandahar in Afghanistan, we were having a cabinet meeting during which Mamata ji proposed that she would go as a hostage but the condition would be that the terrorists should let other passengers go,” Sinha said. “She has been a fighter from the start. She is not afraid of her life,” Sinha said praising the feisty Bengal leader.
Yashwant Sinha was the union finance minister at that time in the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee cabinet. Banerjee was the Railway minister when the Kandahar hijacking case had taken place.
An Indian Airlines flight from Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport, bound for Delhi, was flown to Kandahar with stops in between, including one in Amritsar. The crisis had ended only when India release three terrorists – Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, and Masood Azhar.
The then External Affairs minister Jaswant Singh had accompanied the three terrorists to Kandahar.
(With PTI inputs)