Oppn again protests on Alam issue

NEW DELHI, Mar 11:
Opposition in the Lok Sabha today  sought explanation from Home Minister Rajnath Singh over the issue of controversial release of Hurriyat hardliner Masrat Alam Bhat from the Baramulla jail, questioning Centre’s failure  in issuing fresh detention order for the separatist leader  despite prior information to the Home Ministry.
The issue re-emerged through a rejected Notice of Adjournment moved by Jyotiraditya Scindia (Congress) and P Venugopal (AIADMK).
Speaking on the issue during Zero Hour, Mr Scindia said the process for release of the separatist was initiative way back in the beginning of February during the President’s Rule in that State.
He said, “The State authorities concerned had written to the Government on February 4 conveying that the period of detention of Masrat Alam has expired and if the Government wants to keep him under detention, a fresh detention order be issued.”    “However, then the District Collector concerned on March 7 had written to Police Superintendent to release Masrat Alam and intimate the Home Ministry.
“Now we want to know, how and why the Centre failed to issue  a fresh detention order for Masrat even after having information a month before his release.”
“This raises question whether the Centre had received the first letter of February 4 or not, if not, does it not reflect the flaw or irresponsibility and if the letter was received, that points at a sort of collusion between the Centre and the State in this matter,” Mr Scindia said.
“Therefore, we want the Government to explain whether the Home Minister in his statement earlier, misled this House. A fresh order could have been issued, if the Centre had desired so,” he said.
“We want an explanation and not a discourse on patriotism and national unity, “ the Congress Member said.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu took exception to the Congress member’s version and said the Home Minister’s statement was not misleading.
Mr Naidu said, “This is a serious issue related to national security and the Members should not politicise it, the Home Minister appropriately told the House that the State Government’s report is not complete and hence the Home Ministry had sought clarification from the State Government on certain points.
“Today, the Home Minister is busy in the Rajya Sabha but he  would make a clarification over the issue in this House either later today or tomorrow,” the Minister assured.    Earlier, Mr Scindia, Mr Venugopal and Tariq Anwar (NCP) had pressed for suspension of Question Hour for raising the issue immediately but Speaker Sumitra Mahajan rejected the demand. She said she would allow them to speak on the issue later in the Zero Hour.
On Monday too, the issue rocked both Houses of Parliament even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath made their statements sharing the concern of Members.
Meanwhile, making its position clear on the sensitive issue of scrapping Article 370 relating to Jammu and Kashmir, the Government today said even if it intended to abolish the ‘transitional and temporary’ arrangement, it can not do so, as it is short of necessary numbers in Parliament for  a Constitutional amendment.
The Government’s stand on the issue was deftly articulated by Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju in the Rajya Sabha.
Responding to supplementaries during Question Hour, the Minister said Article 370 was introduced as a transitional arrangement during the transformative phase of the State and as such it does not give any special status to J&K.
“Deletion or abolition of this needs a Constitutional amendment and even if we say, we do not have numbers with us,” Mr Rijiju said, cautiously wading through the controversial territory.
The Government’s stand assumes significance as the ruling BJP was also sharing power with the PDP in J&K with both parties having diametrically opposite views on the issue.    “My party’s view on the issue is known to everyone. I don’t want to say much,” the Minister said.    Under Article 370, half a dozen States enjoy special status, the Minister pointed  out, adding, “We are in favour of equal status for all the States.” (UNI)

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