Release of political prisoners stirs hornet’s nest

Avtar Bhat

JAMMU, Mar 7: Releasing of political prisoners on the directives of Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammed Sayeed has stirred a hornet’s nest with BJP- the alliance partner of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) feigning ignorance about the same.
However, the Minister of Education and PDP spokesperson Nayeem Akhtar has defended the decision saying that there is no harm in releasing the political prisoners who are neither involved in militancy nor any criminal activity.
But BJP general secretary and Minister of Social Welfare and Forests, Bali Bhagat told Excelsior that BJP was not consulted on this issue and no such issue was discussed in the State Cabinet.
He said releasing of political prisoners is the PDP’s decision and BJP is not a party to it. “BJP will discuss it in party meeting tomorrow and it will review the decision before making its stand known to public”, he added.
BJP national secretary, R P Singh also endorsed the stand of his Party on the issue saying that such matters which have ramifications on the basic ethos of J&K should be discussed in Cabinet before taking a decision.
He said BJP will not appreciate any such decision without taking the State Cabinet into consideration. He also made it clear that this should be last time that any such Azadi rally should be given permission in the State.
Nayeem Akhtar said that recently elections were held in a conducive atmosphere in the State and over 60 percent people participated in the election process. This way the people reaffirmed their faith in democracy and rule of law. He, however, said that “there are some people in the State who differ with us and our ideology and have a dissenting voice”. “ We want to engage them in political and democratic process so that no chance is left for alienation,. By keeping them in jail we can’t start that process”, he added.
Mr Akhtar said there is a clear signal from Government and his Party that any one involved in militancy or any criminal activity should be dealt under law.
BJYM president and BJP MLA Nowshera Ravinder Raina has termed the release of Masrat Alam as “threat to national security.” In a statement issued here today, Raina said that Masrat Alam who was responsible for 2008 and 2010 unrest in Valley is a threat to national security.
He said this way the Chief Minister was plunging the State into “darkness of the communalism” and subjecting it to a grave danger from the forces who want to dismember India.
The Congress, NC, VHP and Panun Kashmir have also smelt a rat in the decision.
While PCC chief, Ghulam Ahmed Mir attacked BJP for such a decision saying the Party should either reject it or publicly own it.
Mir said that people want an answer from BJP over the issue as the Party was claiming itself to be clean. He said BJP leaders at national level are a party to the decision and people wanted to know what negotiations were held under the carpet for Government formation during last two months.
Mir said people want an answer from Union Home Minster, Raj Nath Singh and Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Nirmal Singh and they should tell the country whether they are on the board or not over this serious issue.
NC provincial president and MLA Nagrota Devender Rana while reacting to the decision said that Masrat Alam was the mastermindof 2010 stone pelting in Kashmir.
He said all such decisions must be taken after due diligence taking into consideration the requirements and the intelligence inputs.
Mr Rana said ultimately it is the responsibility of the State Government to maintain law and order and ensure peace and normalcy.
VHP patron Rama Kant Dubey has also opposed the decision saying that country has high hopes in Prime Minister Narendra Modi and he should take harsh steps without considering its affect on the fate coalition Government in the State.
Dr Dubey said that there should be no leniency towards the anti national elements in the State and Government should take all harsh steps needed to curb them. All political parties in Valley are hand in glove with separatists and there designs are to be frustrated, he added.
Panun Kashmir president Vijay Bhat while commenting on the decision said that from the day one Mufti Mohammed Sayeed has taken the reigns of Government he tried to appease the separatists at the cost of national unity and integrity.

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