NEW DELHI: Former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had no idea in his new book, My Years With Rajiv, of Operation Brasstacks, staged by his army chief and cabinet minister without obviously telling the prime minister, a family friend and former civil servant Wajahat Habibullah said.
The poser of Habibullah at the opening of the gates of the Babri Masjid in February 1986: “Was Rajiv Gandhi interested in the decisions leading to this unlocking”? This is the response that Rajiv Gandhi gave to Habibullah: “I was not aware of this action and asked Vir Bahadur Singh (then Uttar Pradesh’s chief minister) to justify it.” I assume it was the fault of Arun (Nehru) and Fotedar (Makhan Lal), but I have this confirmed. I’ll have to take action if it’s real.
Excerpts from Wajahat Habibullah’s novel, quoted in a column in The Asian Age on Friday by TV journalist Karan Thapar, say that Gandhi was also not told of the opening of the Babri masjid locks for Hindus to start worshipping at the contested site prior to its eventual destruction in 1992.
It has been widely reported that Gandhi used the compromise of Ayodhya to Hindus to offset his joint award to appease Muslim orthodoxy over the right to alimony of a Muslim divorcee.
The 1986-87 Operation Brasstacks was perceived as unjustifiably offensive and many feared that a war with Pakistan would be ignited by it.
It seems again, evidently, that Rajiv Gandhi had no knowledge of his planning or that it was really going on. Mr. Habibullah admits that he only found out at an Army Day reception as a result of a casual remark to Lt. Gen. P. N. Hoon, the then Western Army Commander.