'PM jawaab do': Oppn corners govt in House over J-K separatist leader Masarat Alam's release

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 09, 2015 12:07 IST

The Congress and other opposition members triggered a ruckus in both Houses of Parliament on Monday, demanding Prime Minister Narendra Modi's explanation on the release of Kashmiri separatist leader Masarat Alam.

Both Houses saw brief adjournments amid Opposition ruckus over the issue.

The Opposition was up in arms even after the government assured them that home minister Rajnath Singh would make a statement in Lok Sabha.

"I will request home minister to come and make a statement on this," parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu said, as slogans of "PM jawaab do (PM, we want answer)" echoed across the Lower House.

"The home minister will come to Lok Sabha at 12; PM also has been told. He will intervene if need be," Naidu said later.

Naidu added the Centre was never consulted on Alam's release by Mufti Sayeed's government in J-K.

While speaking in Lok Sabha, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge alleged the PDP-BJP coalition government in the militancy-hit state might have released the Hurriyat hardliner after consulting the Prime Minister.

"We gave adjournment motion on Masarat Alam. Let's see what happens," Kharge said earlier in the day.

Opposition members in both houses resorted to slogan shouting after the Congress move for the adjournment motion was turned down by the chair.

The Centre asked the J-K government on Sunday to explain Alam's release. The state BJP condemned the release, on chief minister and PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s orders, and said it would rather sacrifice the government — its first in the border state — than be part of such an “insult” to the nation.

Alam, 42, was released after close to five years in detention as part of a state government initiative to release political prisoners facing no criminal charges.

This crisis comes even as the BJP continues its firefight against Mufti’s remarks crediting Pakistan and the separatists for peaceful conduct of assembly elections in the state, and is being viewed as a decision that has driven another wedge between troubled alliance partners BJP and PDP.

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