Jammu: Under attack from its coalition partner BJP over the release of Hurriyat hardliner Masarat Alam, PDP today said the step was taken to facilitate creation of a conducive atmosphere for talks with separatists. “We fully defend the decision of the government to release Alam. The courts have ordered his release and the state government is implementing it,” senior party leader and MLC, Firdous Tak told reporters here.
The PDP said that these steps are being taken under reconciliation policy to create a conducive atmosphere to facilitate talks with separatists. “For undertaking reconciliation, we have to start from somewhere. We have to understand, when we to have talk to separatist leaders, we have to create conducive atmosphere for talks (to commence)”, Tak replied to a question on the steps taken by the government soon after taking over.
The PDP, which came to the defence of the Mufti Mohammad Sayeed-led government over Alam’s release, maintained that the government has no reason to keep him under detention. “Quote me one legal provision under which Masarat Alam should have been detained. We have been time and again saying that there is a difference between detention under PSA and detention for life imprisonment. It has been explained well by the Union Home Minister that PSA is meant for 6 months and can be extended for one year,” Tak said.
“In Masarat Alam’s case, there have been seven extensions. There was no legal justification for the state government to keep him in detention, that is why he was released,” he said. On PDP’s urgency to release Masarat, he said, “This is the main problem. An impression is being created that Masarat Alam was released out of turn. There was no reason to detain him. The grounds were illegal that is why government has released him.”
On the issue of not consulting the BJP before releasing him, the PDP MLC said, “Home ministry is under obligation to implement the law that is why the ministry has taken the decision. “In such issues it is a day to day affair and people like Masarat have been arrested and released several times in the past from time to time. I do not think day to day affairs need to be discussed within the coalition first and then implemented,” he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today denounced Alam’s release by the Jammu and Kashmir government, saying he shared the “outrage” over the unacceptable decision and would take whatever action is required.
The BJP had yesterday said its ministers and legislators will meet to discuss the party stand over the “unilateral” step with its JK unit chief and MP Jugal Kishore Sharma saying his party was not even consulted before the decision was taken. Meanwhile, hitting out at Congress for double standards for raking up a controversy over Alam’s release, Tak further said, “The state government should not stop the process of the reconciliation and peace in Jammu and Kashmir.”
“We sincerely hope the government will carry forward these initiatives in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said. The PDP is strongly in favour of peace and reconciliation in Jammu and Kashmir, he said, adding, “We sincerely believe the BJP will support the initiatives taken by Mufti government since 2002.” “We also feel that Congress, which was a coalition partner in PDP-Congress government in 2002, should also respond in the way the then BJP responded during that era,” he said.