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Jain Commission Interim Report

Threats to Rajiv Gandhi and his Security
Chapter I

Sections 9 to 13

9 Important Sikh extremists operating from UK, Canada | 10 Threats from Sikh extremists to Shri Rajiv Gandhi after he ceased to be Prime Minister | 11 LTTE and Punjab extremists nexus | 12 Threat perceptions from other hostile elements - i) United Liberation Front of Assam - ii) Links of ULFA with LTTE - iii) Threat from Nepalese elements - iv) Threat from Kashmiri militants - v) Threat from Islamic fundamentalist/Afghan militants - vi) Islamic Fundamentalists and hostile Pakistani elements | 13 Conclusions on threat perception

Important Sikh extremists operating from UK, Canada

5.18 In the issue dated March 3, 1989, the `Des Pardes,' published from the UK, carried an interview with Talwinder Singh Parmar of the Babbar Khalsa, Canada. In his interview, he, inter-alia, uttered threats against Prime Minister Shri. Rajiv Gandhi stating that Shri Rajiv Gandhi was still safe, not because of his security set-up but because of the fact that the Sikhs "have not yet turned their thoughts on him." "He (Shri Rajiv Gandhi) will be paying for all his crimes. He will not live beyond 1990." (Annexure T-49)

About Sikh solidarity worldwide, he was reported to have stated that he would form a new committee which would include members from the existing Panthic Committees. Manochahal and Sukhdev Singh Babbar would be in the new Committee which would also have representatives from the USA, the UK, Canada, West Germany and Holland.

5.19 In CANADA , the Sikh extremist elements were very active and were openly holding out threats to the life of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi. One such instance has been narrated by Shri. J,N Dixit, former Foreign Secretary of India in his Affidavit no. 60/92-JCI as follows :-

(c) "Our Consul General in Vancouver intimated on April 17, 1989 that during a parade organised by the Sikh community in Vancouver on April 15 to celebrate Baisakhi, Ajaib Singh Bagri of the Babbar Khalsa, in his speech stated that `O Rajiv Teri Maa Maari Hai, Hun Teri Baari Hai ( Oh Rajiv your mother was killed and now it is your turn).

Our High Commission in Ottawa took up this matter with the Foreign Office on April 19, 1989 and the High Commissioner met the Director of Asia Pacific South Bureau on April 20, 1989 and requested for appropriate action against Bagri to prevent him from causing harm to the life of the Prime Minister. Foreign Secretary also brought this information to the notice of the Cabinet Secretary, Home Secretary, DIB and Secretary (R&AW)."

5.20 It was noticed that several Sikh extremist elements based in Canada had been operating across the continents and were in regular touch with their counterparts in other foreign countries notably U.K. and Pakistan. Some specific instances which came to light during this period have been listed out in the contemporaneous reports furnished by the R&AW. Some of these reports, inter-alia, indicated :-

-- The movements of Talwinder Singh Parmar were highly suspicious. Before the recent SAARC Summit, Talwinder Singh Parmar and his wife were located in Pakistan. Subsequently, it was reported that he was present in New Delhi just before the Republic Day celebrations.(Annexure T-50)

-- Ajaib Singh Bagri, a close associate of Talwinder Singh Parmar, reportedly had told the Babbar Khalsa activists in Canada in the middle of February, 1989, that Parmar was trying to procure certain expensive items of arms and ammunition like missiles. According to him, members of the Sikh community in Canada would hear great news from New Delhi on Baisakhi day which would be "a presentation to the Rajiv Government from the Babbars to prove that the Babbars are still alive." (Annexure T-51)

-- It may be recalled that in February 1989, Paramjit Singh Sidhu @ Dhanna Singh of the ISYF, UK, had been to Canada to meet Mohinder Singh Kooner @ Gurmit Singh Dhaliwal @ Jarnail Singh Dhaliwal of ISYF and KLF, Canada. During this visit, the two extremists had discussed plans for organising a new wave of violence in India with the use of explosives activated by remote control devices, letter bombs and guns fitted with silencers. It was reported that Kooner has gone to Pakistan to organise in India a terrorist campaign on behalf of the Khalistan Liberation Force. This campaign may include the use of remote control devices with explosives and letter bombs. In this campaign, it was learnt that Prime Minister Shri. Rajiv Gandhi was planned to be one of the main targets.(Annexure T- 61)

-- During October, 1989, it was learnt that at a meeting of some activists of the Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) and the Babbar Khalsa ( International) held at Malton in Canada, on October 27, 1989, discussions were held on a plan for the assassination of the Prime Minister during his frequent tours in connection with the election campaign. The plan reportedly envisaged downing his plane or helicopter with a Stinger missile during his visits to either Andhra Pradesh or Tamil Nadu or Jammu and Kashmir or Chandigarh. They would appear to have selected the other states also because of a feeling that these states were ruled by the opposition and hence security is likely to be lax. In Jammu & Kashmir, they expected the JKLF to assist them. (Annexure T-52)

Threats from Sikh extermists to Shri Rajiv Gandhi after he ceased to be Prime Minister

5.21 By mid 1989, the election fever had gripped India and soon, hectic electioneering began. This added a new dimension to the security of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi while on election tours within the country. Threat to the security of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi was further compounded by the fact that by then, the Sikh extremists had equipped themselves with powerful weapons like assault rifles, sub-machine guns, grenades, rockets and missiles, and had acquired reasonable skill in fabricating sophisticated explosive devices. These extremists felt that they could gain a better chance to assassinate Shri. Rajiv Gandhi during his election tours when the exposure is long and varied and security over-stretched.

5.22 Available evidence indicates that threat to Shri. Rajiv Gandhi continued unabated even after he demitted charge as the Prime Minister of India as a result of the outcome of the General Elections of 1989. Intelligence reports available of the period December 1989 till his assassination go to show the extreme high level of threat faced by him. It also becomes clear from these reports that Shri. Rajiv Gandhi had become a soft target after having ceased to be the Prime Minister and vigorous efforts were being made by the Sikh extremist elements to eliminate him. On 12.12.89, in a threat assessment sent from SIB, Chandigarh to IB HQs, this factor was stressed. Relevant extracts are reproduced below :-

Teleprinter Message No3676 dated 12.12.89 from CREMO Chandigarh to CRIMINARE New Delhi)(Annexure T- 35)


6. "The jubilation in Punjab following the recent reverses suffered by Congress(I) in the elections and Shri Rajiv Gandhi's inability to form the new Govt at the centre indicates the continuing animosity against the former Prime Minister(.) Though there are no reports at the current juncture to indicate any planning on the part of the militants etc to mount any attack against Shri Gandhi, but this does not mean that they would in any case reduce their efforts to harm him(.) As such, it may be reasonably expected that Shri Rajiv Gandhi and his family remain under a very real grave threat from the Sikh extremists."

5.23 In the wake of announcement of the General Elections in October, 1989, Gurmej Singh Gill of Babbar Khalsa of UK had threatened that Shri Rajiv Gandhi would not be spared even if he was defeated. (Annexure T-58) After the elections, there were a number of reports confirming this fact. In several open statements and interviews published in widely circulated journals, S.S. Mann, President, UAD(Mann), had made scathing criticism of Shri Gandhi and called for `punishment'. Specific reports of the Intelligence Bureau during the period indicated the following specific instances :- (Annexure S-43)

-- According to a report received from the Ministry of External Affairs, it was learnt that , Pakistan Observer of 17 December 1989, carried a news item entitled "Target Rajiv" authored by one Kaul Singh.

-- From a report received from Punjab Police , it was learnt that the newly elected M.P. from Firozpur, Punjab, Dhian Singh Mand, was noticed to have been urged by his supporters and terrorists to move in closer physical proximity of Rajiv Gandhi and slap him. It was learnt that three brothers of this M.P. were killed in encounters. He himself was wanted in one criminal case and was facing trial in four cases.

-- In December, 1989, it was learnt that Babbar Khalsa activists in India, under the advice of their mentors in Pakistan, were planning an attack on the former Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi or the former Home Minister Shri Buta Singh or any of the persons who they feel to be responsible for the Delhi riots in November, 84

-- The Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau, Delhi, in January, 1990, reported that One Sukhbir Singh Khalsa, who was recently released from Tihar Jail disclosed to some of his confidants that he was in favour of giving 'Phansi' (punishment) to the 'murderers of the Sikhs like Rajiv Gandhi, HKL Bhagat, Jagdish Tytler, Sajjan Kumar etc.

-- In January, 1990, it was reported that in his speech in Muktsar Maghi Mela, S.S.Mann declared that Rajiv Gandhi former Prime Minister and Buta Singh, former Home Minister, committed excesses on Sikhs and were responsible for the hanging of Kehar Singh and assured the audience that they would get them hanged.

Again, addressing a conference at Takhtupura Distt. Faridkot on January 15, 1990, S.S.Mann, reiterated that former Prime Minister and Buta Singh, should also be hanged like Kehar Singh, as they were equally responsible for the killing of Sikhs.

Soon after he went out of power, Shri. Rajiv Gandhi had chalked out an extensive tour programme during January, 1990, in connection with the Assembly elections to 8 States/Union Territories. This had further made him vulnerable from such elements.

5.24 As the events during 1990 unfolded, the possibility of a mid- term election appeared highly probable. Reports of Sikh extremists hatching plans to attempt assassination of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi during the election campaigning kept pouring in.

Reports during 1990 indicated that there was a thinking among the Sikh militants that Shri Rajiv Gandhi should not be allowed to come back as the Prime Minister again at any cost. This added an element of desperation in the planning and attempts contemplated by the hostile Sikh elements on the life of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi.

5.25 Specific intelligence reports of this period indicated that some Babbar Khalsa activists owing allegiance to the gang of Madha Singh and his associates had been assigned the task of making an attempt on the life of Shri Rajiv Gandhi during his election campaign in Delhi. The Babbar Khalsa, by then, had developed formidable expertise in the use of explosives, particularly fabrication of improvised explosive devices.

5.26 Information was received by intelligence agencies during December 1990, that UK based Sikh terrorists were planning an attempt on his life during his tours. Tarun Singh Pattar, General Secretary, ISYF, Lakha Singh Nalhi and some other discussed about the possibility of making such attempts at a function on October 8, 1990.

5.27 Reports available with R&AW during this period specifically indicated that :-

-- In 1990, it was reported that a closed- door meeting was held on October 8, 1990 at New Castle upon-Tyne by some activists of the International Sikh Youth Federation(Northern faction), UK. The meeting was attended by Tarsem Singh Pattar, General Secretary of the ISYF(N), UK, Daljit Singh Shergill, Lakhwinder Sikh Malhi, Hardesh Singh(Norway) and one Malwinder Singh from Federal Republic of Germany. At this meeting the possibility of an attempt on the life of Shri Rajiv Gandhi while he was electioneering as and when elections were announced, was discussed.(Annexure T-52)

-- In 1991, it was learnt that Gurmej Singh Gill, a leader of the Babbar Khalsa(BK), UK, and the self-styled Prime Minister of the so- called "Republic of Khalistan Government-in-exile", who lives in Birmingham, claimed at a meeting of the Babbar Khalsa activists, held on December 27, 1990 that 24 Sikhs had been sent from Punjab to New Delhi to carry out assassinations of prominent personalities. He indicated that Shri Rajiv Gandhi remained their prime target. However, he added that the security precautions around Shri Rajiv Gandhi continued to thwart their attempts to have him assassinated.(Annexure T-59)

5.28 By December end ,1990, some new developments were reported. Sikh leaders based in the USA and UK came to notice for criticising the new Prime Minister Chandrashekhar. Their perception that the new Prime Minister was expected to act against the Sikhs since he was under the influence of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi had given rise to a situation where fresh planning had started against Shri. Rajiv Gandhi. According to an intelligence report:-

"Sikh leaders in the US and UK have criticised the Prime Minister Chandrashekhar.

In their address to the Sunday congregation at the Havelock Road Gurdwara, London, on December 2, 1990, Kesar Singh Mand, an Akali leader, and Bachittar Singh, Ex-President of the Havelock Road Gurdwara Committee had asserted that there was no difference between the previous Government and the present Government of India. ...

Baldev Singh, a former Secretary and trustee of the Sikh Cultural Society which controls the Richmond Hill Gurdwara, New York, in his address (Richmond Hill Gurdwara, New York, December 9, 1990) alleged that the Prime Minister did not enjoy the people's mandate to govern the country and would be at the mercy of Shri Rajiv Gandhi, who would compel him to adopt a "harsh stand" against the Sikhs. He also urged the Sikhs to ignore the Government and strengthen "the hands of the fighters".

Ajaib Singh Bagri, the Babbar Khalsa leader in Canada claimed (Weston Road Gurdwara, Toronto, December 16, 1990) that Talwinder Singh Parmar, the Area Commander of the Delhi Zone of Babbar Khalsa had reached Delhi and would become `Shaheed' after doing some `big work'. Earlier Parmar had indicated to Bagri that he was planning to go into hiding."

(Ex. CGW 193, sl. no. 11)

5.29 Following notable specific instances of Sikh extremists actively contemplating assassination of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi came to light :-

a) Satnam Singh @ Satta, a hard- core terrorist of BTEK (Manochahal group) indicated that his gang had been directed to carry out specific annihilations including that of Shri Rajiv Gandhi. (Annexure S-72)

b) Gurmeet Singh Gill, a Babbar Khalsa leader of U.K., indicated that Sikh terrorists had been deputed from Punjab to New Delhi to make attempt on Rajiv Gandhi. (Annexure S-94)

c) Babbar Khalsa activists owing allegiance to the gangs of Madha Singh, Dharam Singh Kashtiwal and Sukhdev Singh Chhaba, had been reportedly assigned the task of making an attempt on Rajiv Gandhi's life during his election campaign in Delhi. Babbar Khalsa leadership in UK was also reportedly contemplating to organise assassination attempts on the lives of Rajiv Gandhi and his Son Rahul Gandhi, through use of unconventional killing methods, like using gloves contaminated with poison.(Annexure T-52)

d) Babbar Khalsa leadership in UK had at a meeting held in early April'91 discussed the election scenario in India and how to foment trouble. Devender Singh Nahl divulged at the meeting that Sikh tourists were being sent to Delhi and adjoining states from UK to target government officials and parliamentary candidates during their election campaigns. Meanwhile, Sikhdev Singh Babbar, leader of the Babbar Khalsa (India) continued his efforts to arrange supplies of arms and other equipment for the Sikh extremists in the Punjab from Pakistan where he was presently based. (U.O.No. 7/5/91- SA.II-dated 11.04.1991). (Annexure T-52)

5.30 Two incidents suspectedly involving sikh extremists during the week preceding the assassination underscored the pervasive threat of the terrorist and the vulnerability of the very high risk dignitaries during election campaigns.

- On the night of May 17th at Delhi, in a public meeting being addressed by Jagdish Tytler, some suspected terrorists fired bullets and hurled grenades.

- Again, on the night of 19th May 1991, car borne terrorists made a bold attempt against Sajjan Kumar, a Congress (I) leader on the hit list of Sikh extremists Two police personnel and a bystander were killed and a number of persons were injured.

These two attempts galvanized the intelligence agencies into recommending immediate provision of NSG escort to Rajiv Gandhi. A recommendation to this effect was sent by the Intelligence Bureau to the Ministry of Home Affairs on 20th May, 1991; however, before the Ministry woke up from its slumber, it was too late. Shri. Rajiv Gandhi had already been assassinated on the night of May 21st, 1991 and the NSG escort languished on paper.

LTTE and  Punjab extremists nexus:- 

Intelligence reports indicate that links between the LTTE and Punjab extremists had been coming to light since as early as 1987.

6.1 The Cabinet Secretariat (R&AW) vide Cab. Sectt. (R&AW) U.O. No. 4/1/87-VS-2306 dt. 23.11.87 Annexure T-11)furnished the following information:-

Para 2:

"...Some unidentified Sri Lankan Tamils in Oslo sympathetic to the LTTE have also come to notice for trying to establish contact with Sikhs there. In a recent conversation with the Sikhs they reportedly sought to blame our Prime Minister for the recent developments and suggested the latter should be killed."

6.1.1 The Cabinet Secretariat (R&AW) had information from several intelligence reports regarding the growing nexus between various militant groups of India alongwith the LTTE. One of the most disturbing nexus was noticed between the Sikh extremists and the LTTE.

In a comprehensive note (Exh. CGW 155) R&AW has brought out that Jagjit Singh Chohan was making efforts to bring all militant groups under a common platform to fight against Indian Govt. He is reported to have told late Naga leader, A.Z. Phizo (in exile at UK), in Jan. '88 that he intended holding discussions with representatives of the LTTE in London. He was also known to be trying to establish contact with the supporters of the Tamil Tigers in the UK.

6.1.2 Two UK based representatives of the LTTE had reportedly met Chohan at London on 22nd January 1988 and wanted to know Dr. Chohan's position in terms of an armed struggle and what could he contribute to such a struggle. Dr. Chohan was reported to have assured them that there were many issues common to Tamils of Sri Lanka and Sikhs of Punjab, which could be discussed and a common policy evolved. He further added that he stood for a common policy for Sikhs, Tamils and Muslims. Dr. Chohan was reportedly given a copy of essay by A.S.Balasingham, the LTTE ideologue. Dr. Chohan in turn was reported to have given a copy of 'Sikhdom' written by Kirpal Singh.

6.1.3 In early'88, intelligence reports indicated that Sikh youth in Southall, UK, had approached local LTTE activists for supply of arms to Sikh extremists in India; however, no progress was learnt to have been made in this meeting.

6.1.4 The South African authorities had also been noticed trying to bring the Sikh extremists, the Sri Lankan Tamils, the Dalits and anti-India elements in the Muslim community together during the days of apartheid. Gurdev Singh Gill, an active member of the Babbar Khalsa, UK, who had been to Pakistan in March' 89 to meet Gurdip Singh Siviia, who coordinates the procurement and smuggling of arms and ammunition into the Punjab on behalf of the Babbar Khalsa, UK, had visited the South African Embassy in London in June'88, and met a South African diplomat, suspected to be from the BOSS. In Sept.'88' another South African diplomat posted in the South African Embassy in London, had contacted one of the associates of Dr. Jagjit Singh Chohan and sought his assistance in consolidating the activities of the Sikhs, the Tamils, the Dalits and the Muslims. He had also expressed interest in meeting people who could be persuaded to visit South Africa and write thereafter that the discrimination prevalent against the minorities in India was far worse than the system of apartheid. (Annexure T-21)

6.1.5 Even after the assassination of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi, reports about links between Sikh extremists and the LTTE continued to be received. Some important developments which came to light are as follows :-

a) A function was jointly organised on May 24, 1992 by Sikh extremist groups in UK, namely, the Babbar Khalsa and three different factions of International Sikh Youth Federation at Gurudwara Har Rai Sahib, West Bromwich, West Middlands, UK, which was inter alia attended by members of these groups and a representative of the LTTE. At the function, speeches were delivered eulogising "Dhanu', the LTTE assassin of Shri Rajiv Gandhi, the former PM, and the participants were urged the follow her example. An amount of 800 Pounds was reportedly collected for sending to the family members of Dhanu in Sri Lanka through the LTTE leaders based in London.

b) A similar function was held at the Koln Gurudwara in Germany on May 20, 1992, to pay tributes to Dhanu. The meeting was attended by all important Sikh extremist leaders belonging to different extremist groups in Germany, viz., the Dal Khalsa,, Babbar Khalsa and the ISYF. At the function, a decision was taken to observe Martyrdom Day in the memory of Dhanu each year and to collect funds on that day and to send the same to the family of Dhanu.

(Exhibit CGW 155)

Threat perceptions from other hostile elements

7 Threat perceptions from stray sources, which apparently appear unrelated, assume significance in a scenario where there exists evidence of underhand linkages among seemingly disparate hostile forces.

8 An incident involving alleged surveillance of the residence of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi (10, Janpath, New Delhi) which snowballed into a major political event and precipitated the general elections of 1991 requires to be mentioned in this context.

8.1 On 2nd March, 1991, two Head Constables of CID of Haryana Police were apprehended by the security personnel near the residence of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi at 10, Janpath, New Delhi, as they had been spotted moving about under suspicious circumstances near the rear side of the residence. Earlier, on the night of 21st February, 1991, one or two persons were seen under similar circumstances at the same place. During interrogation, one Head Constable admitted that he had been deputed to keep a watch on the nearby Congress (I) headquarters (24, Akbar Road, New Delhi). The other head Constable stated that he had come to meet the Head Constable deputed there. However, Director general of Police, Haryana, stated that these two head constables were posted at Narnaul and Rohtak and had gone to Delhi unauthorisedly. These two Head Constables had been placed under suspension.

However, the intelligence agencies did not perceive this incident as anything more than a security problem as is evident from the deposition of Shri M.K. Narayanan, former Director, Intelligence Bureau, before the Commission on 20th. November, 1996 :-

"Surveillance by two constables at 10, Janpath became a major issue from our point of view regarding security arrangements of Shri Rajiv Gandhi......Quite clearly there was some connection between Mr. O.P. Chautala and the surveillance at 10, Janpath. IB did not see O.P. Chautala as a threat to the life of Rajiv Gandhi, therefore IB did not think him as a threat to Rajiv Gandhi."

8.2 No plausible explanation for the presence of these two Head Constables near the residence of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi's residence has come forth. Even it is not clear whether the persons spotted on the night of February 21st were the same who were apprehended on 2nd March, 1991. The episode led to the fall of the Government at the Centre. The ramifications of these incidents in terms of their being a link of a part of any conspiracy need to be inquired into.


9 Threat posed by ULFA militants took a serious turn during 1990 when intelligence reports indicated for the first time that Shri. Rajiv Gandhi had been included in the hit list of ULFA. On 25th June 1990, when Shri. Rajiv Gandhi had visited Assam, he had stayed in a Hotel Rituraj at Guwahati. ULFA had, after the visit, contemplated a conspiracy to engineer another visit of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi by influencing some State Congress leaders. ULFA also claimed that they had unhindered access inside the Hotel. What is a cause for serious concern was the information that the ULFA had established contact with Sikh extremists which opened up the possibility of a joint plan to attack Shri. Rajiv Gandhi during his visit to Assam. (Annexure T-65)

9.1 Intelligence reports of the period further indicated that ULFA held Rajiv Gandhi and Hiteshwar Saikia in particular responsible for imposition of the President's Rule and the Army operations against the ULFA in Assam. It was reported that the ULFA, NSCN and the PLA had decided to make attempt on Rajiv Gandhi's life in January 1991. (Annexure T-66)(Annexure S-72 and S-94)

9.2 Intelligence reports in February 1991 indicated that the ULFA has constituted about 30 'Suicide Squads', each having a strength of about 10-12, to hit specific targets. Shri Rajiv Gandhi's name was high on the hit list of ULFA as they hold him responsible for imposition of President's rule in Assam and the ban on ULFA. (Annexure T-31) (Annexure S-94)


10 Whereas, on one hand it was indicated that the ULFA had attempted to make arrangements with the Sikhs seeking their assistance in elimination of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi, on the other, an unholy alliance was also developing between ULFA and the LTTE.

10.1 As per the deposition of Shri M.K. Narayanan, former Director, Intelligence Bureau, before the Commission on 3rd. November 1996:-

"The links between ULFA and LTTE, we are aware, were for training in explosives by LTTE for ULFA cadres. The links between ULFA and Sikh terrorists were for purposes of obtaining weapons."

10.2 ULFA cadres had started using Tamil Nadu for clandestine operations. Several injured ULFA cadres were brought to Tamil Nadu for treatment. ULFA used this opportunity establish channels for procurement of supplies. In one such instance, fibre-glass boats were purchased by ULFA in Madras. ULFA activists based themselves in Madras and established links with the LTTE. As per a report of the Intelligence Bureau :-

10.3 " A Tamil Nadu cell of the ULFA is known to have been set up in February 1990 by a top ULFA activist. His purpose was to develop a network of contacts in the State to serve as a sanctuary in case a refuge was needed, provide good medical aid for injured cadres and also open a line to the LTTE. The cell gradually expanded around a three-member nucleus which scouted for houses in which to locate ULFA elements and also institutions where these persons could be ostensibly admitted as students. The Madras call, thereafter, arranged the treatment of their cadres at Vellore, helped falsify hospital records and maintain communication with the ULFA High Command in Assam. Jewel Gogoi, one of the Prime suspects in the SP Dibrugarh assassination in July 1990, found sanctuary in a Vellore hospital and it was from here that he was arrested in Dec. 1990 besides three more of his associates from Madras.

A radio marine service institute at Madras- frequented by ULFA activists-has been used to gain proficiency in clandestine communication methodology by ULFA activists places of residence are used as "safe houses' for ULFA recruits have been identified coming to Tamil Nadu and staying in these premises to undertake low risk operations. The accommodation addresses and facilities created in places like Vellore and Madras have substantially enhanced the operational avenues for ULFA militant groups. 3 Central Committee members of the ULFA had paid a visit to Madras in the first week of August. Their mission was to establish contacts with top LTTE leaders. The discussions with the LTTE related to assistance and expertise in the handling of explosives from the LTTE for their struggle in Assam. Almost immediately thereafter, a top LTTE member code named "Rangappa" visited the headquarters in Assam.

Rangappa was treated like a celebrity and taken to the ULFA'S ghq. He also went to the CHQ and held detailed discussions with top leaders like Paresh Barua, ULFA Commander-in- Chief. The LTTE expert is learnt to have stayed in Assam for 2 months, training ULFA cadres in field craft as well as fabrication and use of IEDs. He is also learnt to have carried back with him a video cassette containing certain details of the ULFA's training programmes. This was no doubt intended for closer examination by other experts in guerrilla welfare at the LTTE headquarters from which fresh instructions were to be issued. The ULFA leadership is reported to have given Rs.8/10 lakhs as a gesture of goodwill to the LTTE for the services rendered by it."

10.4 This nexus between ULFA and the LTTE, during the crucial period of 1990, further expands the possibility of concerted efforts made by these hostile groups to achieve their immediate objective: assassination of Sh Rajiv Gandhi.


10.5 An unverified information was furnished by an intelligence agency during October 1989 which categorically stated that the Queen of Nepal had asked Major-General Aditya Shamsher Jangabahadur, Hon. ADC to the King of Nepal, to arrange for assassination of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi. He was allowed to spend up to Rs.10 crores for the assignment. Subsequent enquiries revealed that during October- November 1989, the Major General had visited Pakistan ostensibly on a private visit, met Governor of NWFP, Brig. Janjua, visited Peshawar and Quetta before flying back to Nepal from Karachi.

Major-General Aditya Shamsher Jungbahadur, however, died on 30th October, 1990.

(R&AW Note No.11/2/12/88-VS-4051 dt.12th Oct. '89) (Annexure T-53) (Annexure T-51)


10.6 The Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) was one major militant group hostile to the Indian Government and inimical to Shri. Rajiv Gandhi. This group was drawing sustenance from Pakistan and other hostile forces operating from outside India. During 1988, when Shri. Rajiv Gandhi was proposing to visit Pakistan for participating in the SAARC Summit being held there, the activities of the JKLF became a cause for concern with regard to his security. It was known that the JKLF not only received moral support from Pakistan, but it had bases, training centres in Pakistan and the organisation was patronised by the Pakistani Security and Military Agencies in its anti- India activities.

The JKLF activists spread over the world and operating notably from Europe were also found to be sharing this common cause with other Indian secessionist groups who were hostile to Shri. Rajiv Gandhi.

10.6.1 Intelligence reports of the period give a clear indication of these activities of the Kashmiri militants who posed a grave threat to the security of the Prime Minister Shri. Rajiv Gandhi. Some of the hostile activities of JKLF which came to light during the period are summarised below :-

-- Central Committee of the JKLF met at Rawalpindi on December 18, 1988, and decided to organise a demonstration in connection with the forthcoming visit to Shri. Rajiv Gandhi to Pakistan. It appealed to all Kashmiris to participate in the demonstration.(Annexure T-54)

-- During the period, JKLF had also stepped up its activities from the Pakistani territory. The POK authorities as well as the ISI and other intelligence agencies had been assisting the JKLF by providing its cadres with training assistance in different places in the POK and outside and by supplying them with arms and ammunition. An increasing cooperation between the JKLF and the Sikh extremist elements in West Europe was also noticed. A representative of the JKLF had attended the World Sikh Convention at Slough in UK organised by Dr Chohan on April 29 and 30, 1989. The ISYF (DDT) has provided financial assistance to the JKLF, UK, in May 1989. The JKLF, UK, was to send two of its representatives on a visit to the USA and Canada to collect funds from the gurudwaras there, controlled by the Sikh extremists. In August 1988, the ISYF, UK, had reached an agreement with Boston Qadri of the J&K Ulma Council, UK, under which the latter had agreed to help the ISYF, UK, in having the arms and ammunition procured by its smuggled into J&K and the Punjab through the POK.

-- By 1989, the JKLF had become quite active in the UK and Holland and had sympathisers in the Pakistani community in France. JKLF elements in West Europe had been trying to step up their activities in the form of demonstrations etc in order to express their protest over the action taken by the Indian authorities against the JKLF elements, which had infiltrated into J&K after undergoing training in POK. Annexure T-55)

-- The Dutch authorities had told the Indian Ambassador in the Hague before the SAARC Summit, that Farooq Hyder, the vice President of the JKLF, who lives in Rawalpindi, was planning an action against Shri. Rajiv Gandhi in order to prevent him from returning to India, implying that it could be an assassination plan. This information was conveyed by the Ambassador to India on December 20, 1988. Enquiries in this connection further disclosed that Pakistani Army elements and the JKLF had entered into an agreement under which JKLF elements received arms training and logistic support. It was further discovered that Dr.Farooq Hyder was the Vice President of the JKLF and resided in Rawalpindi. The JKLF office was located at the residence of Dr.Farooq Hyder at Asghar Mall Road, Rawalpindi. He had presided over a meeting of JKLF workers at Muzaffarabad in Pak Occupied Kashmir on September 1, 1988 which was also reportedly attended by some personnel of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Directorate of Pakistan. The meeting passed a number of resolutions on subjects like induction of arms and ammunition into the Kashmir Valley to create disorder, liaison with the Kashmiri refugees in Pakistan and other countries for raising funds, action for crippling the administration in J&K through sabotage and subversion, and action for securing the release of JKLF activists undergoing prison terms in India. Farooq Hyder had been actively involved in the training of JKLF recruits who go to POK from J&K. He had been organising the training in the use of fire arms and explosives and had also been providing arms and ammunition after the training to the JKLF activists. He had been transporting the trainees in his own car to the training camps which were located at a distance of about 2 to 3 house driving time from Rawalpindi. (Annexure T- 54)

During the same period, a conference of the JKLF at Muzzafarabad decided on an intensification of the activities of the JKLF directed against India, not only in the diplomatic field but also on the ground in J&K. The JKLF cadres trained in Pakistan had also received assistance from Pakistan in the procurement and smuggling-in of arms and ammunition.

Dr.Jagjit Singh Chohan was noticed maintaining close links with the JKLF and JKLF was also in contact with several other Sikh organisations like the ISYF, UK, who were reportedly planning to use elements from the POK for smuggling in arms and ammunition into the Punjab through J&K. In the last week of August, 1988, information was available about plans for assassination of Prime Minister Shri. Rajiv Gandhi and Shri Buta Singh; reportedly, a group of 63 persons were trained in this connection in POK. (Annexure T- 56)

10.6.2 The Intelligence Bureau also perceived a threat to the security of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi from the JKLF. An intelligence report (IB UO.NO.29/VS/89()-II-252 Dt. December 29, 1990) Annexure T-57)specifically points out that Amman Ullah Khan of the JKLF had held out a clear threat to Shri Rajiv Gandhi alleging involvement in the alleged killing of Kashmiri Muslims in the valley.


10.7 A strong lobby from whom threat was perceived to the security of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi comprised Afghan Mujahideens and Pakistani Islamic Fundamentalist groups. These elements were in possession of sophisticated arms and weaponry and their area of operation was also proximate to India. Members of these groups were known to be regularly infiltrating into India and mingling with the refugees as well as the local population. Threats from these elements assumed significance especially when Shri. Rajiv Gandhi had proposed a visit to Pakistan during 1988 for the SAARC Summit. Threat perception reports furnished by the Cabinet Secretariat (R&AW) of the period give an insight into the activities of these organisations. It was informed that during mid 1988, several groups of Afghans, including a group of five Afghans belonging to the Hizb- Islam Group of Gulbuddin Hikmatyar was reported to have crossed over into India; Their destination was Agra where they were to join another Afghan group which was reportedly present there. This group, which had been in contact with Wassan Singh and the Pakistani Intelligence, had brought some AK-47 rifles and explosives from Pakistan and that it had been briefed by Hikmatyar to extend all possible cooperation to the Sikh extremists and that it had also plans to instigate the Muslims against the Hindus. Another group of four Afghans, armed with eight pistols/revolvers and four packets of explosives had also infiltrated in India to go to Agra. (Annexure T-33)

The various Afghan Mujahideen groups based in Pakistan, and particularly that led by Hikmatyar, nursed strong resentment against India in general and Prime Minister Shri. Rajiv Gandhi in particular. This was due to India's close ties with the Government of Najibullah in Kabul and also due to their perception that India was unfavourably inclined towards the Mujahideens. The Sikh extremist organisations abroad also had been maintaining close contacts with the Afghan Mujahideens. (Annexure T-47)

A number of Afghan Mujahideens had been operating from Paris during 1988 -1989. There were reports of some nexus developing between them and Indian secessionist extremist groups in their common plan to cause harm to Shri. Rajiv Gandhi. Intelligence reports on this subject indicate that during this period, a press note carried in the "World Sikh News", the journal of the World Sikh Organisation, in its issue dated April 7, 1989, in the name of the new Panthic Committee, expressed the solidarity of the Sikhs with the Mujahideens and stated that soon the Sikhs and the Afghan would together strike a death blow to India. (Annexure T-21)

During this period, it was noticed that the Afghan Mujahideen groups in Pakistan, and particularly the group led by Hikmatyar, continued to raise allegations against Shri. Rajiv Gandhi. In 1989, they had alleged that Indian pilots had been flying aircraft of the Afghan Air Force, which had been operating against the Mujahideen elements in the Jalalabad and other areas. It was noticed that there was a growing contact developing between the Sikh extremists and the Afghan Mujahideens in Pakistan as well as West Europe. The World Sikh Conventions, organised at Slough, UK by the Babbar Khalsa (March 25 and 26, 1989) and the supporters of Dr. Chohan (April 29 and 30, 1989) were both attended by Abdul Waheed, a representative of the Mujahideens, based in the UK. The Babbar Khalsa Convention expressed its solidarity with the Afghan Mujahideens and its readiness to send volunteers to fight jointly with the Mujahideens. The Sikh extremists in Pakistan were reportedly procuring some of their arms and ammunition from the Afghan Mujahideens (Annexure T-49)


10.8 Threat to Shri. Rajiv Gandhi was perceived also from some elements in the Pakistani Intelligence and Security agencies especially from those elements who were engaged in training Indian secessionist elements. During October, 1988, it was reported that Pakistani Intelligence personnel had been trying to help Sikh extremists cross over into India with arms and ammunition in the Sriganganagar area of Rajasthan. Before the recent visit of the Prime Minister to the Punjab on September, 21, 1988, Pakistani Intelligence personnel came to notice for trying to help a group of 7 Sikhs extremists cross over from Pakistan into the Sriganganagar area with a load of arms and ammunition. Their efforts, however, did not succeed due to the vigilance and effective patrolling of the BSF.

Possibility of threat to Shri. Rajiv Gandhi, the then Prime Minister, during his proposed visit to Pakistan in 1988, was also perceived by our Intelligence Agencies to arise due to willful acts of commission or omission of anti-India elements in the Pak intelligence and security service. Several violent incidents in Pakistan, including the death of Zia Ul Haq in a plane crash were attributed by General Beg on a well planned conspiracy to destabilise Pakistan. The Pakistani Intelligence and security Agencies tended to paint India as the sources of all the ills afflicting Pakistan.(Annexure T-56)

10.8.1 Besides these agencies, a number of fanatic Muslim organisations were operating in Pakistan. The most important amongst them were a) Jamaat-e- Islami (JI), b) Islami Jamiat-e-Tulba (IJT- Student Front of JI) , c) Jamiat-e-Tulba Tohid, J&K Islami Jamiat-e-Tulba, e) Jamiatul-Ulema-e- Tulba, f) Jamiatul-Mashiakh and g) Tabliq Jamaat.(Annexure T-41)

Many of these organisations had their presence in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir(POK) also, and were regularly organising demonstrations etc. to express their unhappiness either over India's policy with regard to Kashmir or over the alleged persecution of the Muslim minorities in India. Another common theme in these demonstrations was that Kashmiris in India should be given the right for self determination.

At the time of the SAARC Summit in Pakistan in 1988, the representatives of Jammat-i- Islami(JI), Jammat-ul-Ulemn-i-Islam (Darkhasti group) and Jammat-e-Ahle-Nedith (Lakhvi group) had met at Lahore to consider plans for organising protest demonstrations against the visit of Prime Minister Shri. Rajiv Gandhi to Pakistan. Amongst the suggestions discussed at the meting were the staging of black flag demonstrations and the printing and pasting of anti-India posters in prominent areas in Islamabad and other cities. (Annexure T-47)

Conclusions on threat perception

11 While analysing the threats emanating from various hostile forces to the life of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi, what stands out is that several anti- national forces active during the period 1984 to 1991 nurtured ambitions of assassinating Shri. Rajiv Gandhi for strategic reasons. In many instances, these elements colluded and agreed to work towards this common objective. The Sikh extremist-LTTE , ULFA-LTTE and ULFA-Sikh extremist links are some such examples. Whereas the threat perceptions have provided crucial information in terms of links between various hostile forces, whether any of these links or any other unknown links, actually worked at tandem to hatch the conspiracy which ultimately culminated in the assassination of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi requires to be enquired into in depth.

12 The entire decade of 1980s was particularly tumultuous for India. Till the assassination of Smt. Indira Gandhi, the threat perceptions for the Prime Minister were not assessed to be so grave as to require deployment of highly specialised and technically trained manpower exclusively for the protection of the threatened individuals. The assassination of Smt. Indira Gandhi galvanised the security agencies and brought into sharp focus the vulnerability of those Public personalities, who, due to the decisions taken by them in official capacity in national interest became objects of enmity of the secessionist and terrorist forces operating in the country. Shri. Rajiv Gandhi inherited from his mother a grave threat from Sikh extremists even before he became the Prime Minister. As Prime Minister of India, he was drawn into taking several hard decisions against terrorism from the very beginning. Recognising this threat, in 1985, an exclusive security force called the Special Protection Group (SPG) was raised for him.

12.1 With the gradual induction of sophisticated arms, explosives and weaponry in the subcontinent during the eighties, the security scenario changed drastically. Beyond the North West borders of India, Afghan Mujahideens and their sympathisers in Pakistan had acquired highly sophisticated weaponry and explosives. Much of this supply was being diverted and came into the hands of Indian secessionist elements such as the Sikhs and the Kashmiri militants. Series of bomb blasts in North India and several assassinations of threatened personalities notably Sant Harcharan Singh Longowal, Lala Jagat Narayan (Sept. 1981) and his son Romesh Chander (May, 1984) in Punjab, Lalit Maken in New Delhi and General Vaidya in Pune underscored the need for streamlined intelligence machinery and responsive and effective security systems to be brought into implementation.

12.2 By early eighties the tentacles of Sikh terrorists had spread all over the world. Uncovering of a plot in the USA hatched by these elements for the assassination of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi and Shri. Bhajan Lal in the USA in 1985 was one such indication. During this period, the international network of these terrorist and secessionist organisations became highly organised. The intelligence reports of the period clearly indicate that Sikh terrorists based abroad were not only engaged in propaganda, but also in large scale mobilisation of arms, induction of arms training to their cadres and in building up liaison with other terrorist organisations.

12.3 Beyond the Southern borders of India, the problem of Sri Lanka assumed alarming proportions in the early eighties. The ethnic riot of July, 1983, in Sri Lanka had a direct impact on India. During the course of the decade, Sri Lankan Tamil terrorist groups, particularly the LTTE acquired extremely sophisticated weaponry and explosives. Their repeated acts of violence in Sri Lanka as well as Southern India, in Tamil Nadu, made them extremely potent security hazards for the Indian dignitaries.

The LTTE had the most extensive international network among all the terrorist organisations operating at the international level. The LTTE possessed a highly evolved propaganda machinery abroad, notably in London and Paris; they were owning a fleet of commercial ships used for smuggling arms and contrabands from the international arms market to Sri Lanka; they had an extensive communications network worldwide and were actively engaged in getting their cadres trained to carry out terrorist acts in many countries. (This has been dealt with in details in another chapter.)

12.4 In the North East, United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) emerged as a leading terrorist secessionist group with considerable expertise in handling arms and explosives. This group, despite periodic crackdowns, continued to pose a fairly high degree of threats.

12.5 During the entire decade of eighties, there were intelligence reports of a growing nexus between these terrorist organisations. The common theme of this nexus was the annihilation of their commonly perceived enemy - Shri. Rajiv Gandhi. There is sufficient evidence in the form of intelligence reports which have been discussed earlier in this chapter to this effect.

12.6 Evidence placed before the Commission also indicates that certain outside powers were also behind stoking the flames of militancy in India and were abetting the hostile terrorist elements in their plans to bring harm to the life of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi. In the reports available, which have been referred to earlier in this chapter, there are clear indications of the hostile attitude of a section of Sri Lankan Government who was opposed to the Indo Sri Lankan Accord and the induction of IPKF. During 1989 - 1990, there were informations pointing out instances of collusion between the Sri Lankan Government and LTTE. Similarly, informations existed of hostile attitudes of a section of Pakistani Government and its security and intelligence agencies towards Shri. Rajiv Gandhi; however, this issue pertains to the second part of the terms of reference of this Commission and has been dealt with in this chapter only as a passing reference with the limited objective of bringing out the threat perceptions to Shri. Rajiv Gandhi.

12.7 The above indicators emphatically underscored the need to streamline the intelligence system, take every piece of information seriously and build a long term security strategy to counter such threats.

12.8 These prevailing conditions of the time made Shri. Rajiv Gandhi the most threatened Indian in recent times. The level of threats to him was unprecedented and ever increasing.

12.9 There is overwhelming evidence to indicate that threats to the life of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi increased after he ceased to be the Prime Minister. Threats to him were unparalleled irrespective of the fact whether he was the Prime Minister. Indications were clear that forces inimical to him were looking for the slightest opportunity to strike. Even after he ceased to be the Prime Minister in 1989, threats to him were perceived to be higher than those of the incumbent Prime Minister Shri. V.P. Singh.

Exh. 267 - a comparative threat assessment report prepared by the R&AW on perceived threats to the incumbent Prime Minister, Shri. V.P. Singh and the former Prime Minister, Shri. Rajiv Gandhi - is a confirmation of the extremely high level of threat faced by Shri. Rajiv Gandhi.

While assessing the threat to the Prime Minister Shri. V.P. Singh, this report stated that there did not exist any information regarding any specific threats from any of the extremist elements abroad, whether from the Sikh extremist organisations or from the JKLF or from any other organisation of Kashmiri expatriates from POK or from Nepali groups or from any of the Tamil or Sinhalese extremists groups of Sri Lanka or from the Anand Marg against Shri V.P.Singh.

On the other hand, speaking of the threat to Shri. Rajiv Gandhi, the report is categorical that threat to Shri. Rajiv Gandhi from the Sikh extremist organisations was continuing to be very high despite his leaving office. The reasons for this were assessed to be the continuing threats from those Sikh extremist elements abroad who had vowed, after Operation Blue Star, to avenge the operation by having Mrs. Indira Gandhi as well as her entire family physically eliminated. The Sikhs also held Rajiv Gandhi responsible for the anti-Sikh riots after the assassination of Mrs. Gandhi and also for the hanging of Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh. The R&AW assessment also pointed out that there was a growing nexus between the Sikh extremist organisations abroad and the JKLF and other organisations of Kashmiri expatriates from the POK as well as the LTTE. All these organisations shared a common anger against Shri Rajiv Gandhi.

12.10 Whether Shri. V.P. Singh and his Cabinet, the subsequent Prime Minister Shri. Chandrashekhar and his Cabinet, the bureaucracy concerned with this subject during the period and the intelligence agencies faithfully translated the threat perceptions vis a vis Shri. Shri. Rajiv Gandhi into formulation of an effective security cover for him will be examined in the next chapter which deals with Security provided to Shri. Rajiv Gandhi.

12.11 The most compelling indication of the under-estimation of the threat potential to Shri. Rajiv Gandhi by the Intelligence Agencies appears to be their threat perception assessment vis-a-vis the LTTE. By all standards, the LTTE had emerged by then as the most formidable terrorist group in the subcontinent. A terrorist outfit who could fight a sustained full fledged war with the Indian Army for over two years and still survive cannot possibly be under estimated. The implications of sensational assassinations carried out by the LTTE in Sri Lanka - notably those of Sri Sabaratnam of TELO in 1986 near Jaffna, A. Amirthalingam of TULF in 1989 and Ranjan Wijeratne, Defence Minister of Sri Lanka in March, 1991 at Colombo - could not possibly have escaped the Agencies. The systematic manner in which the leaders of the rival militant groups such as Sri Sabaratnam of TELO in Kondavil in 1986, The capability of the LTTE to strike at will in India was confirmed after the brutal assassination of K. Padmanabha of EPRLF and 15 others in Madras on June 19, 1990. The cyanide cult of the LTTE and the readiness with which its hand picked cadres called the 'Black Tigers' embarked on suicide missions should have been reasons enough to have been extremely wary of the LTTE. In India, the rabid anti- Rajiv Gandhi sentiments of the LTTE were well known. It is indeed appalling that these incriminating informations were so grossly under estimated by the Intelligence and Security Agencies and by Central Governments.

12.12 The tenets of the security considerations have been comprehensively propounded by the security experts in their evidence before the Commission. One of the oft quoted security tenet has been that no security system is foolproof; the threatened person becomes particularly vulnerable to an attempt by a determined killer. The remedy to this has also been prescribed by the security experts. The efforts of the security system should be to create as many barriers as possible between the assassin and the target in order to deter a determined attempt.

In three instances, we have seen, that the determined potential killers of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi could not execute their plans. Two of these attempts were made during election meetings of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi in Shahdara and Faridabad in May, 1991. Earlier, in July, 1985, Harjinder Singh Jinda could not make an attempt on Shri. Rajiv Gandhi outside Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital when Shri. Rajiv Gandhi went there to see the dead body of the assassinated leader Lalit Maken due to the security around Shri. Gandhi.In the case of providing security to Shri. Rajiv Gandhi especially from such rabidly determined killers as the LTTE, the implementation of this tenet is conspicuous by its absence. This is a subject matter of Security cover and has been dealt with in details in the succeeding chapter.

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