Masarat Alam's release: J-K govt to send detailed report to Centre

  • Jammu, HT Correspondent and Agencies
  • Updated: Mar 12, 2015 08:56 IST

The Jammu and Kashmir government will send a detailed report to the Union home ministry on Wednesday on the controversial release of separatist leader Masarat Alam a day after the BJP sent a stern message to alliance partner PDP, according to reports.

This comes after Union home minister Rajnath Singh said his government's top priority was national security and not the continuance of the state government.

The fledgling coalition has been buffeted by a slew of controversies with Alam's release emerging as the latest embarrassment after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had to distance itself from chief minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed's statement crediting Pakistan and separatists for the peaceful December polls.

The BJP has decided against pulling out of the ruling alliance in the state but sent out a stern message to the Peoples Democratic Party over the release of Alam.

State government sources told IANS in Jammu that the Union ministry had expressed dissatisfaction over the earlier report sent to it by the state's home department on Alam's release.

The home ministry said it had sought more information from the J-K government after two letters circulated on social media by a news channel showed the process to release Alam began when the state was under central rule.

"The home ministry has sought additional information about the [release of Masarat Alam]. The situation is unclear, because, we have not received any further additional information," minister of state for home Kiran Rijiju told the media in Delhi.

The letters emerged a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the Muslim League leader's release in Parliament and said the Centre was neither consulted nor informed about the matter by the 10-day-old PDP-led government in which the BJP is a partner.

"A comprehensive report has now been prepared dealing with all the aspects of Masarat Alam's release. It is being sent to the MHA today (Wednesday)," IANS quoted an unnamed top government sources as saying.

They said the ministry has sought clarifications on specific issues like the court directions which led to Alam's release, list of cases pending against him and their present status and also the reasons that prevented the state government from keeping the separatist in detention.

Sayeed, who is in the eye of a political storm for releasing the separatist, has directed both the state home department and the police chief to ensure that a comprehensive report is sent to the ministry on Wednesday, sources added.

The 42-year-old hardline separatist, who played a key role in the 2010 anti-India protests in the Valley that led to more than 100 deaths in police firing, was released last week from J-K's Baramulla jail where he was lodged under the PSA.

There is a bar on detaining a person for more than two years under this law.

The orders for the release of the separatist were issued in light of a Supreme Court directive on Alam's continued detention.

"The guidelines issued by the Supreme Court prohibit detention of any individual for the same offence on more than one occasion.

Judgments of the Supreme Court which formed the basis for quashing Alam's detention have also been furnished in the report, which says the state law department was in the loop while ordering the release," sources said.

As for the cases pending against Alam, the report says there are 15 such in different courts and the FIRs lodged against him include those under sections 120 and 120 of the Indian Penal Code. The sections pertain to waging war against the state.

Meanwhile, the BJP's ally Shiv Sena attacked Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed saying he is a "godfather" of separatists and demanded his arrest.

"The separatists in Kashmir have got a godfather in Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, who has increased their strength. The BJP's coalition
partner in Kashmir (PDP) has a mindset that is further complicating the situation there rather than solving it," an editorial in Sena
mouthpiece Saamana said.

The Sena alleged that the recent meeting between Pakistan envoy Abdul Basit and separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani at a time when secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan have just resumed, was "inspired" by Sayeed.

"Whatever is happening in Kashmir is not in the interest of the country. Do anything you want, but do not get India into trouble. Do not be a part of this crime against the country. Releasing of separatist leader Masarat Alam is like helping terrorists. So, arrest Mufti Sayeed and file a criminal case against him," the Sena said in a veiled reference to the BJP.

Amid reports that other separatist leaders abd militants will also be released by the state government, J-K home secretary Suresh Kumar has said no such step is being taken. He also denied that any list had been prepared to facilitate such releases in the near future.

Top government sources ridiculed rumours that the state government had also decided to release Ashiq Hussain Faktoo who is serving a life sentence that has been upheld by the Supreme Court.

(With IANS and PTI)

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