It is said that coming events cast their shadows before. The month of July was comparatively cooler in 1987 with maximum temperature touching 37 degree C in New-Delhi. But the scandalous political temperature was already up. In the month of March Rajiv Gandhi had crowned himself with shame when the congress in cohorts with the NC rigged the Assembly election in J&K State and pushed the opposition in a tail spin. Hardly had the ignominy sunk in the political establishment in New Delhi did the Swedish Radio on 16th April broadcast the big news. Among others, many Indian politicians had allegedly been paid huge kickbacks in the wake of the contract between GOI and Swedish company-Bofors. For the first time in the history of independent India, PMO was dragged under the shadows of a corrupt umbrella. But the Congress with 2/3rd majority in the Lower House was too confident to care about any allegation against it.

 In the month of July, V Prabhakaran LTTE supremo was airlifted for a meeting with Rajiv Gandhi. The meeting was held in the wake of Operation Poomalai which enabled India to air drop humanitarian aid to the besieged Tamil areas. The Indira Gandhi Government had earlier made it clear to Jayewardene that intervention in support of Tamil Movement was an option India would consider if diplomatic solutions should fail. Obviously she was still living in the past glory harvested by her in 1971. She must have been musing about creation of Bangladesh 2.0 to establish her place in the greatest of the great club! When Indira Gandhi uplifted herself to occupy the seat of power, Khushwant Singh quipped “our Prime Minister is not even a matriculate!” Obviously she was ignorant about Alexander Pope’s warning: On wrongs swift vengeance waits! And vengeance waited for 18 years to unfold her wings in the mountains of Kashmir in 1990.

The operation Poomalai succeeded because it was carried out by Indian Air Force. The Sri Lankan ambassador was earlier called in and conveyed the- none- too honourable an advice of India to stay put. In international circles this move was interpreted as a clear violation of the sovereignty of Sri Lanka. But the Congress didn’t care. It had, as mentioned earlier 2/3rd majority in Lok Sabah!

The humanitarian gesture of India encouraged Prabhakaran to come to Delhi to have a one to one talk with Rajiv Gandhi. What transpired between the two leaders is naturally classified. It is said that when the meeting ended, in order to put Prabhakaran at ease, Rajiv removed his bullet proof vest and put it on the back of his future assassin. The parting advice offered by Rajiv was “Take care of yourself!”

 President Jayewardene became very suspicious about the meeting between Rajiv and Prabhakaran. The military threat by India had convinced him that India was talking from a position of strength. He felt humiliated. Humiliation, says Vidura, is a bitter medicine. One should drink it but keep his head clear. So Jayewardene drank the bitter medicine and utilised the bonhomie between LTTE and Rajiv to the hilt. He led him up the garden path and extracted Indo-Sri Lankan Peace Accord from him. The very title of the accord made India complicit in the on-going militancy. He made Rajiv to believe that he was making progress which actually was false. That is diplomacy! “Diplomacy” says Winston Churchill “is the art of telling people go to hell in such a way that they ask for directions.” This Accord made Jayewardene to disengage his Army which was in an eyeball to eyeball confrontation with the LTTE. The beauty is that it ensured that the Indian Army faced her nemesis in the jungles of Sri Lanka. The Vietnam Moment of India was effortlessly presented to Rajiv Gandhi which was accepted by him humbly!

The main areas of agreement were:

1    Troop withdrawal from besieged Jaffna and other Tamil areas.

2    Devolution of power to provinces

3    Commitment of Indian Military assistance

The Tamilians after a hesitation felt betrayed. The first reaction was displayed when a Sinhalese recruit attacked Rajiv with his rifle at the guard of honour ceremony the very next day of signing of the accord. The net spread by Jayewardene had trapped the young PM. There was no turning back. The IPKF must have recorded tales of misadventure in their war history. I won’t delve on that episode.

The flexing of military muscle by India was not received by the western powers kindly. Henry Kissinger, the butcher of Cambodian people was very much alive. He still is. The misadventure by India provided America with an opportunity to get even with India. In 1971 to the utter disbelief of the US, Pakistan lost her eastern wing with the blessings of India. The moment of avenging had arrived.  As India moved in the south, ISI-CIA created a platform for exporting armed proxies through northern borders into Kashmir. The die was cast. But the logistic support in Kashmir had to be created if the plan had to succeed.

The withdrawal of soviet combatant forces from Afghanistan began on 15th May 1988. The US Pakistan relations were all time high. In Kashmir the rigged assembly elections- a joint operation of the Congress and NC had pushed the young ones’ on to the streets. The JKLF organised demonstrations, strikes and attacks on police force. Bomb blasts were regularly carried out. The cadres of JKLF were already in contact with insurgent groups in Pakistan. They were also in regular contact with the guides who knew about safe routes of crossing the LoC.

The period from ‘87 up to Dec. 1989 was used for creating logistic support structure by the JKLF, while a medium level mayhem of threats was extended to people to fall in line. An atmosphere of absolute fear was created when selective killings started. That the preparations for insurrection were in full swing was known to the intelligence agencies. The Governor, a retired military general, a Congress pliant, refused to acknowledge the danger.

The general election in November 1989 defeated the Congress and V P Singh took over as Prime Minister. Mufti Mohd Sayeed took over as the Home Minister on 2nd December. His daughter was kidnapped on 8th December.

The rest is history.

End of Chapter 5