New Delhi: Three days after the Jammu and Kashmir government released hardliner Masarat Alam from jail, Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed assured Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh that no more separatists will be released without consulting the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
According to sources, Singh spoke with the J&K Chief Minister over phone over Alam's release. The Home Minister sought some more clarifications on the release of the separatist on Saturday. During their conversation, Sayeed is learnt to have assured the Home Minister that no more separatist leader will released from prison.
The assurance by Mufti should come as a major relief for the Modi government at the Centre as the J&K CM was preparing to ensure the release of 15 other separatists, including Ashiq Hussain Faktoo who is lodged in Srinagar jail for the past 22 years, making him the longest-serving prisoner in the Valley.
The government faced fire over the issue for the second day in Parliament on Tuesday with the Opposition asking it to clarify whether the decision to release Alam was taken during Governor's rule in the state. The Opposition was referring to reports quoting PDP sources saying that an Additional Secretary in the Home Ministry had asked the District Magistrate of Jammu to release Alam.
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said party chief Uddhav Thackeray has expressed concern over the way Alam was released. "BJP's image can be tarnished the way PDP is taking such decisions in the Valley," he said.
He said Mufti's action should be considered a revolt against the country and a case should be registered against him even though he is the CM of the state.
Replying to a question in the Parliament, Leader of Rajya Sabha and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said if a specific case is brought up, the Centre will find out the details but if the House timing is to be taken up, 10,000 people are being released.
"So, first of all affirm that there are 10,000 political prisoners in Jammu and Kashmir. I will be telling the whole world that we have kept 10m000 political prisoners in Jammu and Kashmir. Are you willing to authenticate that? And then all are being released. So there has to be some sense of responsibility when we make such assertions in the House as to how many political prisoners are there in J&K," he said.