Srinagar: Stoking a controversy, Independent MLA Shiekh Abdul Rashid on Sunday said Jammu and Kashmir was a disputed territory and release of separatist leader Masarrat Alam should not be seen as an undue favour to him, and called for appreciating voices which wanted the dispute resolved.
"Let these self styled patriots not forget that Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed territory and whosoever, including Masarrat Alam, talks of its resolution, cannot be labelled as an anti-national or anti-Indian.
"But good Indians should appreciate those voices who want Kashmir dispute to be resolved, as it will help India also in making progress towards prosperity," Rashid said in a statement here.
The Langate MLA was reacting to the outrage expressed by various quarters following Mufti-Mohammad Sayeed-led PDP-BJP government's decision to release the hardline separatist leader yesterday.
Rashid welcomed the separatist's release but maintained that "the release should not been see as an undue favour to Alam or Kashmiris".
"The frustration being shown by few political parties and a section of national media leads to the fact that how scared Government of India is about the genuine political activities in Jammu and Kashmir as its stand vis-a-vis Kashmir dispute has been completely illogical and unjustified right from 1947.
"Who does not know that Masarrat Alam and dozens of others are being put behind the bars in gross violation of human rights under draconian laws? It is shameful on part of so-called nationalist forces who in the name of patriotism want to crush voice of Kashmiris for resolution of dispute," he added.
Rashid said the "so-called nationalist" forces need to introspect on how their claims of a heavy turnout during elections authenticate their stand on Kashmir if they are so afraid of Alam's release, the orders for which were given by the courts from time to time.
"In fact, the state of India has been disgracing and disrespecting its own judiciary time and again," he said.
Rashid ridiculed former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah for using the release of Alam to score political points over the PDP to "please his masters in Delhi".
"Omar should answer why he didn't release Masarrat Alam, Qasim Faktoo and others during his tenure despite claiming his coalition partner Congress to be more secular and Kashmir friendly.
"Omar should tender apology for accusing Alam of entering into deal against his release and must know that everybody cannot be Sheikh Abdullah or Kukka Parray (slain counter-insurgent turned politician) as the movement for resolution of Kashmir dispute does not belong to any particular individual, group or party but is struggle of masses," he said.