BJP MLAsMeet J&K Chief Minister Sayeed, Demand Immediate Arrest of Masarat Alam
NEW DELHI: BJP legislators in Jammu and Kashmir have demanded the immediate arrest of hardline separatist Masarat Alam in a petition to Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, who had him released from prison on Saturday.
The BJP also wants all cases against Mr Alam to be investigated afresh.In Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he shared the opposition’s anger at Mr Alam’s release and told Parliament that the J&K government, in which his party the BJP participates, had not consulted the Centre on this and other decisions since it was sworn in.
The alliance of the PDP and BJP, ideological opposites, is less than two weeks old and its harshest critics would give it a little longer to begin unravelling. But there appears to be a very real threat of that happening already.
The PDP says Mr Alam has been released as part of a reconciliation effort and that separatists cannot be engaged with or brought into the peace process if they are in jail. “Masarat Alam was under illegal detention…we will not keep anybody in jail illegally,” minister and PDP spokesperson Naeem Akhtar told Reporters.
Mr Alam, 44, was arrested in 2010 for allegedly fanning trouble during street protests in which over 100 people died in Kashmir. While he was granted bail in the cases against him, he was repeatedly detained under the People’s Security Act for four years.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said today that Mr Alam had 27 cases against him, including charges of sedition.
Thrice in the last week the BJP has been put in a spot by its newest ally, making it vulnerable to the opposition’s attack while a crucial Parliament session is on.
An hour after he was sworn in chief minister, the Mufti had thanked “people from across the border” – seen as a reference to Pakistan – and militants for allowing smooth elections in the state.
Soon after, PDP’s legislators demanded that the remains of Afzal Guru, found guilty of the 2001 attack on Parliament and hanged at Delhi’s Tihar Jail two years ago, be “returned” to Kashmir.
Another BJP ally the Shiv Sena warned that the BJP would have to “pay a price” for its tie-up with the PDP.