Release of J&K separatist leader irks BJP

Release of J&K separatist leader irks BJP

The release of hardline separatist leader Masrat Alam Bhat has become a bone of contention between coalition partners the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Jammu and Kashmir.

The BJP on Sunday slammed the “unilateral” decision and warned that such things would not be tolerated.

Bhat, instrumental in triggering a 2010 stone-pelting agitation in which more than 100 people were killed, was released by the government on Saturday after 53 months in prison, on the orders of PDP patriarch and Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.

In Jammu, state BJP youth wing activists, who held a protest against the release, warned that they would never tolerate the release of an “anti-national leader who is a threat to security.”

Questioning the decision, state BJP chief and MP Jugal Kishore Sharma told reporters his party was not even consulted before the decision was taken.

“The decision is not a part the of common minimum programme (CMP), on the basis of which the alliance government is being run in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said in Jammu.

“We are not going to tolerate any such decision which is not as per the CMP. We will convey our displeasure to the PDP so such things do not happen in future,” he said.

The BJP leadership was deeply hurt by the unilateral decision of the chief minister.
However, PDP chief spokesman and Education Minister Nayeem Akhtar contradicted Sharma over the issue saying the decision was in line with the CMP which talks about engaging all stakeholders for establishing peace in the state.

“If you want to have a dialogue with all stakeholders, which includes these leaders, you cannot engage them by keeping them in jail without anything substantial against them,” Akhtar said. “I don’t want to enter into a public debate on this issue.”

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