Masarat Alam release row: As it happened

Prime Minister Narendra Modi denounced the release of hardline separatist leader Masarat Alam by the Jammu and Kashmir government of which BJP is a partner, saying he shared the "outrage" over the unacceptable decision and would take whatever action is required.

Last Updated: Mar 09, 2015, 23:54 PM IST
Masarat Alam release row: As it happened
  • Enforcement Directorate summons Kashmiri separatist leader Shabir Shah in a terror financing case.
  • Senior Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi took to Twitter to take a dig at the Prime Minister and BJP over Alam's release. “A party constantly speaking on nationalism & against separatism & terrorism in opposition now supine & impotent against coalition compulsions!,” he tweets.
  • Also Read: 'Secret pact' between PDP, BJP on Masarat Alam release, wonders Congress
  • Uddhav Thackeray seeks criminal case against Mufti Sayeed, asks whether a CM has right to release people like Masarat Alam. "Does Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has the right to free a terrorist? This is a person who is spreading terror and against whom there are a number of allegations and who has been arrested many times. Whatever is happening in the country is not good," says Thackeray.
  • Also Read: Shiv Sena demands case against J&K CM Sayeed over Alam's release
  • Madhya Pradesh Youth Congress stages a silent protest against Masarat Alam's release.
  • Members of various organizations including Shiv Sena, Kranti Dal hold protest in Jammu as they demand immediate re-arrest of Alam while asking the BJP to come clean on the issue.
  • Life remains normal in the state despite a two-day shutdown call given by the Panthers Party in Jammu against the release of Masrat Alam at state Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed`s orders.
  • On Alam's release, Communist Party India (CPI) leader D Raja says, “We have heard what our Prime Minister has said but the government in Jammu and Kashmir is a coalition government....The BJP cannot absolve its responsibility. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) should own responsibility and explain its position."
  • Senior Congress leader Saifuddin Soz says, "Hurriyat shouldn`t go to the Pakistan High Commission to discuss politics because it is not going to benefit them. Hurriyat should instead talk to Government of India and the Government of India should also open a dialogue with them. That is the only option; there is no point in initiating dialogue with Government of Pakistan."
  • Also Read: Hurriyat will not benefit from talking to Pakistan, says Saifuddin Soz
  • “I assure the House that after the clarification from the state government, if needed, we will issue a strong advisory,” Rajnath says in Lok Sabha.
  • In an another tweet the HMO writes: “The Central govt is not satisfied with the J&K Home Dept. report. We have sought clarifications from the State.”
  • The official twitter handle of Home Minister Rajnath Singh's office (HMO) tweets: “Centre has got a report from J&K Home Dept on the release of Masrat Alam.It says he has been granted bail in all cases against him.”​
  • Also Read: MHA seeks fresh clarification over J&K govt's report on Masarat Alam's release
  • BJP lawmakers in Jammu and Kashmir demand immediate arrest of hardliner Masarat Alam. "BJP strongly opposes and rejects the decision to release Masarat Alam and believes that the conduct of Alam, after his release and the statements made by him and situation existing now, are fresh inputs to consider his fresh detention under PSA immediately in the interest of the security of the state," says state BJP General Secretary Rajiv Jasrotia.
  • Also Read: BJP lodges protest with Sayeed over Alam's release, demands re-arrest
  • Criticising BJP for its "suicidal surrender and U-turn on its jingoistic rhetoric" on the release of hardline separatist leader Masarat Alam, Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party (JKNPP) says the party had compromised on all its policies for the sake of power. "We accuse BJP for its suicidal surrender and U-turn on its jingoistic rhetoric. The state unit of BJP owes an explanation to the people of state for its criminal silence over the spate of announcements and measures announced by PDP in furtherance of its highly controversial agenda," JKNPP Chairman, Harsh Dev Singh tells reporters.
  • In Srinagar, Masarat Alam tells reporters: "Mufti Sayeed should not try to take political mileage out of it. I was released through a normal legal procedure since my Public safety Act (PSA) detention was about to end in the next two to three days." "What difference does it make if one person is released when there are thousands languishing in jails," he adds while denying that he had been responsible for the killings of youths during the 2010 unrest in the Valley. "It was Omar Abdullah and not me who is responsible for those killings," says Alam.  

  • BJP legislators meet Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed at his residence over Masarat Alam's release. 
  • Saying that Masarat Alam's release is not a big deal, separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani says the accusations against the Hurriyat hardliner are untrue.
  • Talking to a news agency, Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani says India should accept the fact that Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed territory and not a part of India. Calling Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed's praise of Hurriyat as a mere political stunt, Geelani opined that there will be no change in Kashmir.
  • Taking a jibe at the BJP, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah says a CM has to be trusted to decide what is in the interest of his/her state. On microblogging website Twitter, Abdullah says:
    Also Read: CM should to be trusted to decide state's interest: Omar Abdullah

  • Shiv Sena stages protest in Jammu against Masarat Alam's release, demands CM Mufti Mohammad Sayeed's resignation.
  • Devender Singh Rana of National Conference says everything which is happening in J&K is as per mutual understanding between BJP-PDP. It is clearly a script written much before oath taking ceremony, adds Rana.
  • Another Congress spokesman Randeep Surjewala urges the PM to not shed crocodile tears. The PM should rather form concrete policy against anti-national elements, opines Surjewala.
  • Congress spokesperson Salman Soz says PM Modi and the J&K CM themselves were involved in government formation. We do wish them luck, but there are times when people raise questions, advises Soz.
  • Describing  the meeting between Modi and Mufti Mohammed Sayeed ahead of government formation as "normal courtesy", Singh says: "Our agenda is never hidden. Our agenda is always very open. We are not the ones who operate behind curtains."
  • "There is no doubt that there are ideological differeneces between BJP and PDP. We have never had any relationship with the PDP in the past. They are with us only for 10 days. Whatever influence is there, it must be yours on them. You had been with them in power in past..," Singh tells Congress.
  • In Rajya Sabha, Home Minister Rajnath Singh says: “We will not let anybody play with nation's integrity. We will make any sacrifice, if needed, for it,” adds Singh. 
  • There is no illegality in the release of Masarat Alam: PDP's Firdous Tak
    Also Read: No threat to our alliance with BJP, Masarat Alam's release is not illegal: PDP
  • There is no threat to our alliance with BJP, there is a mechanism in place, adds Firdous Tak. 
  • PDP believes that reconciliation is a part of agenda. The state government is allowed to take decisions for peace in state: Firdous Tak 
  • Congress leader Rajiv Shukla says the PM's statement is problematic when he says that the J&K government took decision without consulting anyone.
  • The PM is saying even he doesn't know what is going on in J&K: Congress' Mallikarjun Kharge in Lok Sabha
  • We have sought clarification from the J&K government in this regard and as the Home Minister (Rajnath Singh) said the information will be shared with the House: PM
  • There is no reason to stay silent on such matters as we are the people who sacrificed Syama Prasad Mookerjee​. I share the anguish of the House. Please don't teach us patriotism, says Modi amidst huge uproar.
  • I assure the House and the nation that the government will not accept or compromise on the issue of country's integrity and security, says the PM. Our government will will take whatever necessary action is required, adds Modi.
  • Parliament, in one voice, has condemned this type of action. I assure the country and the House that whatever is happening in J&K, the Union government was neither consulted nor informed...Government does not accept such action. In one voice, we express our anger against those supporting separatists and misusing the law. At least on the issue of separatists and terrorism, the country should not think on party lines. The BJP is in a coalition with the PDP government in Jammu and Kashmir. You should criticise the government, but the world should not get a message that the country is divided on the issue of its unity and integrity​: PM Modi 
  • The PM begins making a statement on Masarat Alam's release.
    Also Read: Naidu pained by Opposition's behaviour in Lok Sabha over Masarat Alam's release issue
  • We are not satisfied with J&K Home department's reply on Masarat Alam's release and have sought further clarifications. We will issue a strong advisory, if needed: Rajnath Singh
  • The report by the J&K government says that the high court has granted him bail in all 27 cases as he could be detained for only two years on the same grounds, says Rajnath Singh. 
  • Twenty-seven criminal cases, including those of murder, sedition and conspiracy, are pending against Masarat Alam since 1995. He was detained eight times, says Singh.
  • Many leaders have expressed concern over the release of Alam. As soon as we got information in the matter, we asked for a report from the Jammu and Kashmir home department, says Singh.
  • Commenting on Masarat Alam's release, Singh assures that his government will never compromise with public safety. 
  • I want to assure Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha M Mallikarjun Kharge​ that the PM will intervene if they want: Rajnath Singh
  • Speaker Sumitra Mahajan tries to calm Opposition MPs disrupting the proceedings. 
  • Home Minister Rajnath Singh attempts to make a statement in Lok Sabha amidst huge ruckus.
  • Trinamool Congress MP Kalyan Banerjee in Lok Sabha says the BJP should resign from the Jammu and Kashmir government if it is not going to do anything on Masarat Alam's release.
  • Continued vociferous protests by Congress members deter External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to make a statement on Tamil fishermen issue raised by JD(U)'s KC Tyagi.
  • Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi tries to persuade the Opposition members by assuring them that the Home Minister will clear their doubts on the issue. "When the Home Minister gives a reply, the facts will come out. You will then realise what have you done."
  • PDP leader Mir Mohammad Fayaz, meanwhile, questions why Congress did not have problem when Yasin Malik was released during the tenure of a PDP-Congress coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir. "When PDP-Congress government was in power, Yasin Malik was released. Then there was no ruckus," says Fayaz. "People of Kashmir want peace. During NDA government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the people of Kashmir had come out and voted; now they have polled 70 percent votes. Do these people not want peace in Jammu and Kashmir," he questions.
  • Sharad Yadav (JD-U) says it was BJP's responsibility to clarify on the issue as it had been having parleys with PDP for two months before forming the government in J&K. 
  • Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Congress leader Anand Sharma submits a notice to suspend the business of the House and discuss the issue. Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien does not allow the suspension of business. However, he allows some members to speak on the issue. Raising the matter, Anand Sharma (Congress) alleges that the Jammu and Kashmir government was "encouraging separatists and anti-national activities. ... We cannot accept this... This country is not ready to accept this."
  • Rajya Sabha adjourned till 12 noon. 
  • Congress members rush into the Well of the House raising slogans like "aatankwadi ko chhodnewalon, sharam karo, sharam karo (shame on people releasing terrorist)."
  • The meeting between Home Minister Rajnath Singh and PM Narendra Modi is underway in Parliament in this regard.
  • Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien rules out adjournment motion after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley assures that his government and his party will never compromise with national security. "The Home Minister will come to the House and make a statement," adds Jaitley.
  • Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, rebuts the charge, saying three-four MLAs had in response to a statement by chief spokesperson of PDP, who is now a minister, stated that on humanitarian grounds the family should have been allowed to meet Afzal Guru and his body should be handed over to them. "They made no mention of the hanging... There was no condemnation of the hanging," he says, adding the statement by the legislators was in their personal capacity and not authorised by the party.
  • Trinamool Congress MP Derek O'Brien accuses the Centre of compromising on national security and demands that the PM make a statement.
  • Speaker Sumitra Mahajan rejects the Opposition's adjournment motion to suspend the Question Hour. Lok Sabha adjourned till 11:30 am amid Opposition ruckus over release of Hurriyat leader Masarat Alam. 
  • Bahujan Samaj Party president Mayawati says the entire country is criticising the J&K CM's decision to release Masarat Alam. The BJP should not "compromise national interest for the lust of power", says Mayawati, adding she had in August 2003 resigned as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh within a year of forming a government with BJP support as her party (BSP) did "not want its principles to be compromised".
  • Uproar in Lok Sabha continues on Masarat Alam's release with Opposition MPs chanting "Jawab do jawab do, Pradhan Mantri jawab do (Give a reply, Prime Minister give a reply)".
  • Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, in Parliament, says Centre was not consulted on this issue by the J&K government. This is a very serious issue... It concerns the entire country and not just one party (Congress), says Naidu, adding: "Home Minister Rajnath Singh will give a clarification in this regard at noon." If required, the PM will also intervene, says Naidu.
  • Masarat Alam's release raises question on democracy, this needs to be stopped. If such people are released, no one will survive in this country, adds Kharge in Lok Sabha.  
  • May be, (J&K CM) Mufti Mohammad Sayeed consulted Prime Minister (Narendra Modi): Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha M Mallikarjun Kharge on Masarat Alam's release
  • Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party patron Bhim Singh dares BJP to withdraw its support to PDP if it is against Masarat Alam's release. 
    Also Read: If BJP against Masarat's release, they should withdraw support to PDP: Panthers Party
  • The J&K government submits a detailed report to Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Masarat Alam's release. 
  • Home Minister Rajnath Singh will today make a statement in Parliament on hardline separatist leader Masarat Alam's release from jail.
  • On the first of the two-day bandh, which started yesterday, JKNPP patron Bhim Singh had said the decision to release Aslam is “against the nation”. “How can BJP now call itself a nationalist (party),” Sigh added. JKNPP activists held protest demonstrations in Jammu and Udhampur against the state government over the release of Alam.
  • Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party (JKNPP) is observing bandh in Jammu over the release of hardline separatist leader Masarat Alam from prison.

Earlier development:

The Union Home Ministry has sought a report from the Jammu and Kashmir government on circumstances leading to release of hardline separatist leader Masarat Alam from prison.

Despite being a Sunday, officials of the Kashmir division in the Home Ministry worked overtime to gather all facts from the state government on the issue which has led to strain in the PDP-BJP alliance.

The ministry wanted to know the reasons that led to release of 44-year-old Alam, who spearheaded 2010 agitation, from the Baramulla jail on Saturday night.

According to sources, Alam had around 15 cases pending against him which included those registered under Section 120 and 121 Ranbir Penal Code (waging war against the country) and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

With Opposition parties in Parliament already up in arms over Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed's statement last Sunday when he credited Pakistan, Hurriyat Conference and militant outfits for smooth conduct of elections in the state, the Government expects disruption over this development as well when the session resumes on Monday after the Holi break.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh is expected to outline the Government position on the issue which has kicked up a political storm.

The sources said Union Home Secretary LC Goyal had also spoken to Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police K Rajendra to ascertain the reasons behind the release of Alam, who has also been booked by police under criminal conspiracy for 2010 agitation during which about 120 youths lost their lives.

In the meantime, Alam on Sunday said the PDP-BJP government had done him no favour as his release was part of normal judicial process.

"I have not been done any favour by the government. My release is part of the normal judicial process," Alam told a news agency.

On the controversy related to his release, the Muslim League leader said, "If there is any hue and cry over my release, it is their headache."

Alam rejected the suggestions that there was a secret deal between him and the state government over this release and it could lead to dialogue between the Centre and the separatists.