Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) warned PDP, its ally in the newly-formed government in Jammu and Kashmir, that any further unilateral actions such as release of separatists or militants will not be tolerated and threw broad hints that remaining in power is not a priority for it.
The warning came amid bickering between the alliance partners over the release of hardline separatist Masarat Alam last Saturday.
State Deputy Chief Minister and BJP leader Nirmal Singh met party president Amit Shah in Delhi and apprised him of the situation in the state in the wake of the controversy over Masarat Alam’s release.
After the meeting, highly-placed BJP sources said a terse warning has been given to PDP top brass that “any such unilateral action will not be tolerated any more”.
The BJP central leadership has conveyed to the PDP that “remaining in power is not a priority for BJP and it will not allow any laxity on the issue of national security and in dealing with separatists and militants”, the sources said.
Meanwhile, the state government appears to have softened its position, saying it will not free any more political prisoners or militants.
“There is no such thing”, the State Home Secretary Suresh Kumar said on being asked whether government will continue with the release of more militants and political prisoners.
“No Public Safety Act could be re-framed against Masarat Alam, that is why he was released. Rest there is nothing more (releases)”, Kumar told PTI in Jammu.
Defending the decision to release Alam, the Home Secretary said, “There is limit of detaining some one under PSA. You can have maximum six months and one time more”.
“As per the Supreme Court Judgement you cannot detain anyone again and again on the same charge. If you have done that there should be fresh charges against him”, he said.
Pushed on the backfoot over Alam’s release, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today asserted that his government’s top priority is national security and not the continuance of government in the state.
His remarks came on a day Opposition parties in Parliament upped the ante against the Government over reports that the Jammu and Kashmir government was planning to release 800 more separatists and sought to know if the state’s Governor has mentioned this in his report to the Centre. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made it clear in Parliament on Monday that release of Alam was not acceptable and that the government won’t tolerate any compromise with the nation’s integrity.
Putting the Government on the mat, Opposition wondered whether BJP has a “secret pact” with PDP on the issue and demanded re-arrest of Alam against whom there are 27 criminal cases, including murder, sedition and conspiracy. He was detained eight times.
The Home Minister said, “My government will not compromise with national security at any cost. For us any government, whether in alliance or not, that is not our priority. Our priority is country and its security. You should understand this intention of ours.
The Home Minister said, “I will only make only one statement as of now, as I had said in Parliament yesterday. For us, government is not the priority but for us country is priority and it is topmost,” he said in Ghaziabad.
In Jammu, PDP said the Jammu and Kashmir government will abide by the court directives on the release of political prisoners.
“Whatever the Supreme Court and courts tell us, we are going to abide by that (on release of political prisoners in future),’ senior PDP leader and Minister for Sports, Imran Raza Ansari told reporters.
The Home Minister said he was not satisfied with the official version that the state government sent to his Ministry earlier on this subject.
He also dismissed reports that J-K Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had talked to him on the subject.
Members in both Lok Sabha and Rajya have expressed “outrage” over the release of the separatist leader, calling the development as “anti-national” and dangerous to the country’s integrity. They have also dared BJP to pull out of the Mufti Mohammad Sayeed-led government on the issue.
In the Rajya Sabha, Opposition parties sought Government’s clarification on reports that the J-K government was planning to release 800 more jailed separatists.
The issue also cropped up in Lok Sabha where a demand was made for dismissal of Mufti government and a ban on PDP in the wake of its “anti national” act of releasing Alam.