The controversy over the release of separatist leader Masarat Alam continued to rage on Tuesday when Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that India’s security is the priority for the Bharatiya Janata Party, not its alliance with Peoples Democratic Party in Jammu and Kashmir.
Singh reiterated that he was not satisfied with the report of the J&K government on the release of Alam.
“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.”
“I will only make only one statement as of now, as I had said in Parliament. For us, government is not the priority but for us country is priority and it is topmost,” he said.
“You should understand this fact and I think everything is encapsulated in this statement,” Singh said on the sidelines of the 46th Raising Day of central security force CISF in Ghaziabad.
Singh maintained that he was not satisfied with the official version that the state government sent to his Ministry earlier on this subject.
“I will not say anything now. As I said in Parliament yesterday, I am not fully satisfied with the version of Jammu and Kashmir government on this issue. I have sought some information…Clarifications on the issue from the state government and only after getting something from there, I will comment,” he said.
He also dismissed reports that Mufti had talked to him on the subject.
“I have not talked to the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir (Mufti Mohammad Sayeed) in the last about three years or so…Not before oath or after that,” he said.
Singh’s statement came after reports claimed that Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed telephoned Singh to assure that directives of the court will be followed in releasing political prisoners in the future.
Peoples Democratic Party also reportedly assured the Bharatiya Janata Party, its alliance partner in the state, that no more separatists will be freed without consulting BJP.
Some reports have also claimed that the BJP has asked PDP to arrest Alam again.
Earlier in the day, a letter claimed that the decision not to file fresh charges against Alam was taken during the 49-day Governor’s Rule in the state, much before Mufti Mohammad Sayeed took over as Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister.
The Additional Secretary of the Home Ministry had asked Jammu’s District Magistrate to free Alam.
In Parliament, Opposition parties sought to corner 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.
After Naresh Agarwal (Samajwadi Party) and others raised the issue in Rajya Sabha, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the government was ready to respond to any specific case brought to its notice.
Jaitley said Home Minister Rajnath Singh had on Monday made it absolutely clear that he had certain reservations about the report received from the state government on the release of one separatist and had sought more information.
Taking strong exception to statements that 10,000 prisoners are being released, Jaitley said, “Are you telling the world that we have kept 10,000 political prisoners… You have to have some sense of responsibility (while making such statements).”
Alam had several cases against him and was granted bail by court in some of them, he said, adding the government will respond if any specific case of another separatist being released is brought to its notice.
Maintaining that the government will “find out and give response” if a specific case was given, he said “let a notice be given with authentic facts. The House cannot be media-driven.”