A day after the release of senior Hurriyat leader Masarat Alam, the BJP on Sunday warned ally PDP that it would “not tolerate such things”, and asked it to refrain from taking such “unilateral” decisions.
State BJP president Jugal Kishore Sharma said they would lodge a formal protest with the PDP leadership. “We had no prior information or knowledge on his release. This is not our decision and we had not given our consent to this,” he said. “We will ask them to ensure that any decision on such controversial issues is not taken without taking the BJP into confidence as it is a major partner in the coalition government,” said Sharma.
Speaking to the media before a meeting of senior BJP leaders, including its legislators, to discuss the issue, Sharma said: “We will not tolerate such things any more and this will be conveyed to the PDP leadership… We do not approve of his (Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s) decision to release Masarat Alam.”
Alam’s release came two days after the Chief Minister instructed the state police chief to initiate the process of releasing all political prisoners against whom there were no criminal charges.
BJP MLA from Nowshera, Ravinder Raina, said Alam’s release was a “threat to national security”. Accusing the CM of “plunging the state into the darkness of communalism”, he said Alam’s release was “a sinister design to hijack the verdict of the nationalist forces”. By releasing such people, the CM and his advisors were working as “facilitators of the enemy”, he said.
He said the BJP was prepared to sacrifice the government for the sake of national integrity and sovereignty. “The BJP will not tolerate any move aimed at playing with national security and social harmony in the already sensitive state,” he said.
However, PDP spokesman and Education Minister Naeem Akhtar told PTI that the decision was in line with the coalition’s common minimum programme. “This (Alam’s release) has to be seen in proper perspective. It is an important part of our common minimum programme to involve all stakeholders in the state, and across the Line of Control, for reconciliation and peace in the state,” he said.
“If you want to have a dialogue with all stakeholders, which includes these leaders, you cannot engage them by keeping them in jail without anything substantial against them,” he added.
Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) workers held a protest here demanding Alam’s re-arrest. State BJP secretary Yudhvir Sethi, whose wife Priya Sethi is a minister of state in the coalition government, was also present among the demonstrators.
Alam is alleged to have organised the anti-India protests of 2010 in the Valley that resulted in the death of 112 people.
This is not the first time that the BJP and PDP have differed since their government was sworn in on March 1. Barely an hour after taking oath, the Chief Minister credited separatists and Pakistan for the smooth conduct of assembly polls in the Valley. Days later, eight PDP legislators described the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru as a “travesty of justice” and demanded the return of his mortal remains.
— With PTI inputs