PM Shares Outrage, Denounces Release Of Masrat Alam

9 March 2015

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today denounced the release of hardline separatist leader Masrat Alam by the Jammu and Kashmir Government of which BJP is a partner, saying he shared the 'outrage' over the unacceptable decision and would take whatever action is required. Modi spoke in Lok Sabha as members from various political parties created an uproar over the development, terming it as 'anti-national' and dangerous to the country's integrity, and dared BJP to pull out of the Mufti Mohammad Sayeed-led Government. Asserting that the release of the separatist leader was not acceptable, he said his Government won't tolerate any compromise with the nation's integrity. He said the Centre has sought clarifications from the State Government and will act after the response is received. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the Centre had already sought clarifications from the State but was not satisfied with part of the reply. Further clarification has been sought, he said. 'I want to assure the House that we will not refrain from issuing strongest advisory to the State Government if required,' Singh said. As opposition protested, Modi made an intervention, saying he shares the 'outrage' of the country as well as the House over the development. 'Parliament, in one voice, has condemned this type of action. I assure the country and the House that whatever is happening there (in J and K), the Union Government was neither consulted not informed Government does not accept such action. 'In one voice, we express our anger against those supporting separatists and misusing the law. In the coming days, we will take whatever action is required and we are committed to the nation's integrity,' Modi said. As opposition members took a dig at him as BJP is a part of the State's coalition Government headed by PDP leader Sayeed, Modi said, 'BJP had no reason to keep silent as we are the people who sacrificed Shyama Prasad Mukherjee.' To questions raised by opposition members, the Prime Minister said, 'Don't teach us patriotism. As the Home Minister has said, we have sought more clarification from the State. We will inform Parliament on the action taken.' Singh said the State Government has informed the Centre that 27 criminal cases, including attempt to murder and sedition, are pending against Alam and he was detained under the Public Safety Act after he got bail in all the cases. The release of Alam, leader of Muslim League, has created strains between the coalition partners with BJP insisting that such an action was not a part of the Common Minimum Programme on the basis of which the Government was formed. Opposition parties, including Congress, TMC, RJD, walked out expressing their dissatisfaction with Modi's reply. Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge attacked Modi over his assertion that the Centre was not told about the development and said BJP then should either pull out of the alliance Government in J and K or Alam should be put behind bars again. Kalyan Banerjee (TMC) accused BJP of having given 'tacit support' to the release of the 'traitor' and said it cannot escape the responsibility for the State Government's action as it is a partner in it. He said the opposition had thought the State Government would refrain from taking any such action after the Home Minister had denounced Sayeed's statement which gave credit to Pakistan, militants and separatists for smooth polls in the State. P Venugopal (AIADMK), whose party has supported the treasury benches on many issues, also deplored Alam's release and said BJP should pull out of the Government. Rajnath admitted to 'ideological differences' between BJP and PDP and said it is ready to make any 'sacrifice' for national integrity. He asserted in Rajya Sabha that no one, howsoever powerful, will be allowed to play with the unity and integrity of the country as he sought to allay concerns of members over Alam's release. Singh, who made a statement and replied to clarifications, insisted that there was 'no hidden agenda' in and the Centre has sought answers from the State Government, in which BJP is a part, over the decision to release Alam. 'There is no doubt that there are ideological differeneces between BJP and PDP. We have never had any relationship with the PDP in the past. They are with us only for 10 days. Whatever influence is there, it must be yours on them. You had been with them in power in past..,' he told the Congress, which has had a coalition Government with PDP in the State earlier. Asserting that Jammu and Kashmir was, is and will be an integral part of the country, the Home Minister said, 'no one howsoever powerful will be allowed to play with the security, unity and integrity of India. We are ready to give any sacrifice that is required.' Singh said he was speaking on behalf of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who was present in the House as he insisted that there was 'no hidden agenda' or behind the scene talks' over Government formation in Jammu and Kashmir. There is 'no question of any compromise with a traitor,' he said. 'Our agenda is never hidden. Our agenda is always very open. We are not the one who operate behind curtains,' he said as he described the meeting between Modi and Mufti Mohammed Sayeed ahead of Government formation as 'normal courtesy'. The Home Minister said as soon as Alam was released on Saturday, the Centre had sought clarification from the State Government. The response was not satisfactory and more clarifications have been sought, he said, adding 'if need be, a stern advisory will be issued to the State Government. Centre will not shy away from doing so'. Justifying the formation of government with PDP in the State, he said it was necessitated due to a fractured mandate and BJP joined hands with an intent of ensuring that the State develops and flourishes. Singh also shifted the blame on the previous Congress-NC Government for not referring the matter of Alam's detention under the Public Safety Act in September 2014 to the Advisory Board and accused it of sitting over it for over three months. 'I want to assure the House that our Government cannot make any compromise on public safety and public security. Our is politics not only for Government but for making nation,' he said. Earlier, Opposition led by Congress today created uproar in Rajya Sabha over the release of separatist leader Masrat Alam by the PDP-BJP Government in Jammu and Kashmir. Congress, TMC, JD-U and BSP raised the issue when the House met for the day, calling it a serious issue with implications on national security and demanded suspension of business to take up the issue. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said 'as far as our Government is concerned, there will be no compromise on national security' and Home Ministry has sought a report on the issue from the State Government. 'Some preliminary facts have come and Home Minister will make a statement on issue,' he said. Deputy Chairman P J Kurien disallowed the motion but Congress members continued to press for a statement from Prime Minister and stormed into the well of the House, forcing adjournment of proceedings for 15 minutes. Raising the issue Anand Sharma (Cong) alleged that the Jammu and Kashmir Government was 'encouraging separatists and anti-national activities. We cannot accept this This country is not ready to accept this.' Mayawati (BSP) said after the controversial statement by Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed crediting Pakistan and separatists for the conduct of free and fair elections in the State, the release of separatist leader 'is not in national interest. In one way it is anti-national.' BJP, she said, should not 'compromise national interest for the lust of power' and went on to remind how she had in August 2003 resigned as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh within a year of forming a Government with BJP support, as her party BSP did 'not want its principles to be compromised'. Sharad Yadav (JD-U) said it was BJP's responsibility to clarify on the issue as it had been having parleys with PDP for two months before forming the government in J and K. Direck O'Brien (TMC) said the security of the country has been compromised because of 'selfish convenience of politics has won over conviction. Prime Minister needs to come and explain,' he said. As Kurien disallowed the motion, Congress members rushed into the Well of the House raising slogans like 'aatankwadi ko chhodnewalon, sharam karo, sharam karo (shame on people releasing terrorist).' Continued vociferous protests by Congress members deterred External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to make a statement on Tamil fishermen issue raised by JD-U's K C Tyagi. Kurien tried to restore order in the House saying it was 'unfair' on part of Congress to not allow others to raise their issues. As Congress members kept shouting slogans in the Well demanding statements from the Prime Minister and Home Minister Rajnath Singh, an apparently exasperated Deputy Chairman P J Kurien criticised them for not allowing others to raise issues. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi tried to persuade the Opposition members by assuring them that Home Minister will clear their doubts on the issue. 'When the Home Minister gives a reply, the facts will come out. You will then realize what have you done.' 'This is high-handedness, indiscipline. Let the whole country see your behaviour I had already said that after this issue the subject of Tamil fishermen will be taken up. Can the main Opposition party obstruct the issues of other opposition parties? You are doing wrong. Why do you oppose Tyagi? Why do you oppose the fishermen issue? 'This is high-handedness of one party This is very bad,' he said. 'I never expected this behaviour. You may do whatever you want,' he said refusing to adjourn. However, with the noisy protests continuing, he adjourned the House till noon. Earlier, an angry exchange of words took place between Kurien and Congress member K V P Ramachandra Rao when the latter insisted that his party leader Ghulam Nabi Azad be allowed to rebut charges levied by the PDP member. While Azad wanted to respond to the allegations, Kurien, apparently not noticing him, had given Leader of the House Arun Jaitley the floor to speak on the issue. This led to agitated Congress members demanding that Azad be allowed to have his say first because his name was mentioned. Even as Kurien relented, Rao charged towards the well saying how can the Leader of the Opposition not be allowed to speak. An angry Kurien shot back, 'You cannot browbeat me. I know the rules. I am allowing Leader of the Opposition.' As the Congress members continued to stand, he remarked 'Congress members cannot browbeat me.' Azad was later allowed by Kurien to rebut the charges levelled by the PDP member.