'Congress stooped low to play politics post 26/11'

WikiLeaks quotes US ambassador Mulfords memo to Washington

The  WikiLeaks post was a confidential memo written by former US ambassador to India, David Mulford, to the US state department on December 23, 2008. The memo was on a political controversy sparked by Antulay on December 17 “with comments insinuating that the killing of Maharashtra Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) Chief Hemant Karkare by the Mumbai terrorists was somehow linked to Karkare’s probe of (Malegaon) bombings in which radical Hindus are suspected”.

Analysing the Congress stand on Antulay’s remarks, Mulford wrote, “The Congress, after first distancing itself from the comments (of Antulay), two days later issued a contradictory statement, which implicitly endorsed the conspiracy. During this time, Antulay’s completely unsubstantiated claims gained support in... Indian-Muslim community.”

According to the diplomat, the Congress hoped “to foster Muslims’ support for the upcoming national elections” by pulling back from its original dismissal of the comments.
“The entire episode demonstrates that the Congress Party will readily stoop to the old caste/religious-based politics if it feels it is in its interest,” Mulford alleged.

According to Mulford, while the killing of three high-level law enforcement officers during the Mumbai attacks “is a remarkable coincidence, the Congress party’s initial reaction to Antulay’s outrageous comments was correct.

“But as support seemed to swell among Muslims for Antulay’s unsubstantiated claims, crass political opportunism swayed the thinking of some Congress leaders,” he wrote.
“The party chose to pander to Muslims’ fears, providing impetus for those in the Muslim community who will continue to play up the conspiracy theory,” Mulford told the state department. The issue was done to death after “cooler heads eventually prevailed within the party leadership”, he said.

Yet the Muslim community “will continue to believe they are unfairly targeted by law enforcement”, he noted in the cable. According to WikiLeaks, it has around 1,300 cables from the US embassy in New Delhi. However, only half a dozen of them have been posted by it on its website.

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