PM denounces release of Kashmiri separatist leader Masarat Alam

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today denounced the release of hardline separatist leader Masarat Alam by the Jammu and Kashmir government of which BJP is a partner, saying he shared the "outrage" over the unacceptable decision and would take whatever action is required.

Modi spoke in Lok Sabha as members from various political parties created an uproar over the development, terming it as "anti-national" and dangerous to the country's integrity, and dared BJP to pull out of the Mufti Mohammad Sayeed-led government.

Asserting that the release of the separatist leader was not acceptable, he said his government won't tolerate any compromise with the nation's integrity. He said the Centre has sought clarifications from the state government and will act after the response is received.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the Centre had already sought clarifications from the state but was not satisfied with part of the reply. Further clarification has been sought, he said. "I want to assure the House that we will not refrain from issuing strongest advisory to the state government if required," Singh said.

As opposition protested, Modi made an intervention, saying he shares the "outrage" of the country as well as the House over the development. "Parliament, in one voice, has condemned this type of action. I assure the country and the House that whatever is
happening there (in J and K), the Union government was neither consulted not informed... Government does not accept such action.

"In one voice, we express our anger against those supporting separatists and misusing the law. In the coming days, we will take whatever action is required and we are committed to the nation's integrity," Modi said. As opposition members took a dig at him as BJP is a part of the state's coalition government headed by PDP leader Sayeed, Modi said, "BJP had no reason to keep silent as we are the people who sacrificed Shyama Prasad Mukherjee."

To questions raised by opposition members, the Prime Minister said, "Don't teach us patriotism. As the Home Minister has said, we have sought more clarification from the state. We will inform Parliament on the action taken." Singh said the state government has informed the Centre that 27 criminal cases, including attempt to murder and sedition, are pending against Alam and he was detained under the Public Safety Act after he got bail in all the cases.

The release of Alam, leader of Muslim League, has created strains between the coalition partners with BJP insisting that such an action was not a part of the Common Minimum Programme on the basis of which the government was formed. Opposition parties, including Congress, TMC, RJD, walked out expressing their dissatisfaction with Modi's reply.

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge attacked Modi over his assertion that the Centre was not told about the development and said BJP then should either pull out of the alliance government in J and K or put Alam should be put behind bars again.

Kalyan Banerjee (TMC) accused BJP of having given "tacit support" to the release of the "traitor" and said it cannot escape the responsibility for the state government's action as it is a partner in it. He said the opposition had thought the state government
would refrain from taking any such action after the Home Minister had denounced Sayeed's statement which gave credit to Pakistan, militants and separatists for smooth polls in the state.

P Venugopal (AIADMK), whose party has supported the treasury benches on many issues, also deplored Alam's release and said BJP should pull out of the government.

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