LAHORE - Perturbed by a new high in Kashmiri freedom struggle, Indian spy agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) has taken to throwing dirt at popular Kashmiri leadership in an effort to discredit them.

In an interview with NDTV's high-profile anchor Barkha Dutt ahead of the launch of his book, 'Kashmir: The Vajpayee Years', RAW ex-chief Amarjit Singh Dulat made some ‘revelations’ that appear to be aimed at weakening the new ‘Kashmiri Intifada’.

He claimed that Indian intelligence agencies over the years often paid militants and separatists along with mainstream politicians and political parties in India-held Kashmir to compete for influence with Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

Kashmiri leaders and a former diplomat sharing views over the issue with The Nation on Sunday opined that since the Kashmiri Intifada has once again taken momentum, the Indian security apparatus are left with no other option than launching a propaganda campaign against the popular Kashmiri leadership in Occupied Kashmir. They pointed out to the timing of this interview.

Dulat in the interview also claimed that Indian secret services facilitated pro-Pakistan Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani. He also said he had been in touch with one of India’s most wanted men, Hizbul Mujahideen leader Syed Salahuddin, who, the ex-RAW chief said, was ready to leave Pakistan and return to India.

Syed Salahuddin, who is also head of Muttahida Jihad Council, last crossed over to Pakistan in September 1994. He told this correspondent, “The freedom struggle in Occupied Kashmir is once again on its peak both on political and military fronts which has panicked the Modi government and pushed RAW to launch a propaganda campaign to defame the popular Kashmir leadership struggling for freedom.”

He remarked: What was the need of taking up arms against the Indian occupation 30 years ago if I have to connive with the Indian secret service supervising and carrying out operations against the leaders of Kashmir’s freedom struggle and their families! He added that it was a white lie that he was in contact with RAW to return to India.

When asked about other Held Kashmir leaders who were allegedly in contact with RAW, he said, “Indian establishment made efforts time and again through its agents in Occupied Kashmir to throw offers to the popular leadership but no mainstream leader of freedom struggle accepted any offer.”

Former diplomat, Zafar Hilali, who was foreign affairs additional secretary when Dulat was in office of the RAW, sharing his views on ex-spymaster’s revelations observed: I believe it is a ploy of the RAW to discredit the popular Kashmiri leadership at a time when the Kashmiri uprising has once again jolted the Indian establishment.

It is a modus oprendi of the hostile secret services to launch propaganda campaigns against the popular leaderships when they fail to control or influence them. However, when asked, Hilali said, “I am not privy to any information concerning the Kashmiri leadership’s alleged connection (during my term in office) with ex-RAW chief.”

Barrister Sultan Mehmood, veteran Kashmiri leader and former prime minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir in a brief comment endorsed the opinion of Salahuddin and Hilali, He said, “The timing of (the interview and) the launch of ex-RAW chief’s book says it all. Kashmiri freedom struggle has once again gained momentum and what is a better option for the Indians than launching a propaganda campaign against the popular leadership.”