New Delhi/Ghaziabad/Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed on Tuesday assured Home Minister Rajnath Singh that no separatist would be henceforth released without taking the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) into confidence.
Sources in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said Sayeed spoke to Rajnath Singh on the phone and assured him that no separatist leader would be released from custody by the state government without taking the PDP's alliance partner, the BJP, into confidence.
"This was done by Mufti sahib to clear the confusion created by some people over Masrat Alam's release," a PDP source said.
"The chief minister assured the union home minister that no separatist would be released on its own by the state government, except when it becomes necessary because of a court order."
A serious crisis had developed between the PDP and the BJP after the chief minister ordered the release of separatist leader Masrat Alam without taking the BJP on board.
The PDP also clarified today that Alam's release was ordered by the state home department in February when the state was under Governor's rule.
"A communication was sent by the state home department to the Jammu district magistrate who had ordered detention of Masrat Alam under the Public Safety Act (PSA).
"The communication sent in February said that since the term of detention of Alam was coming to an end in March, necessary arrangements should be made for his release," the source said.
The PDP source said the communication was sent during Governor's rule. "We have only ensured that we don't interfere with the legal process," as per IANS.
Earlier in the day, the controversy over the release of separatist leader Masarat Alam continued when Rajnath Singh said that India's security is the priority for the BJP, not its alliance with PDP in J&K.
Talking to reporters, Singh reiterated that he was not satisfied with the report of the J&K government on the release of Alam.
"My government will not compromise with national security at any cost. For us any government, whether in alliance or not, that is not our priority. Our priority is country and its security. You should understand this intention of ours."
"I will only make only one statement as of now, as I had said in Parliament yesterday. For us, government is not the priority but for us country is priority and it is topmost," he said.
"You should understand this fact and I think everything is encapsulated in this statement," Singh said on the sidelines of the 46th Raising Day of central security force CISF in Ghaziabad.
Singh maintained that he was not satisfied with the official version that the state government sent to his Ministry earlier on this subject.
"I will not say anything now. As I said in Parliament yesterday, I am not fully satisfied with the version of Jammu and Kashmir government on this issue. I have sought some information...Clarifications on the issue from the state government and only after getting something from there, I will comment," he told reporters here.
He also dismissed reports that Mufti had talked to him on the subject.
"I have not talked to the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir (Mufti Mohammad Sayeed) in the last about three years or so...Not before oath or after that," he said.
Singh's statement came after reports claimed that Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed telephoned Singh to assure that directives of the court will be followed in releasing political prisoners in the future.
Peoples Democratic Party also reportedly assured the Bharatiya Janata Party, its alliance partner in the state, that no more separatists will be freed without consulting BJP.
Some reports have also claimed that the BJP has asked PDP to arrest Alam again.
Earlier in the day, a letter claimed that the decision not to file fresh charges against Alam was taken during the 49-day Governor's Rule in the state, much before Mufti Mohammad Sayeed took over as Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister.
As per reports, the Additional Secretary of the Home Ministry had asked Jammu's District Magistrate to free Alam.
In Parliament, today also Opposition parties sought to corner the government over reports that the Jammu and Kashmir government was planning to release 800 more separatists and sought to know if the state's Governor has mentioned this in his report to the Centre.
After Naresh Agarwal (Samajwadi Party) and others raised the issue in Rajya Sabha, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the government was ready to respond to any specific case brought to its notice.
Jaitley said Home Minister Rajnath Singh had yesterday made it absolutely clear that he had certain reservations about the report received from the state government on the release of one separatist and had sought more information.
Taking strong exception to statements that 10,000 prisoners are being released, Jaitley said, "Are you telling the world that we have kept 10,000 political prisoners... You have to have some sense of responsibility (while making such statements)."
Alam had several cases against him and was granted bail by court in some of them, he said, adding the government will respond if any specific case of another separatist being released is brought to its notice.
Maintaining that the government will "find out and give response" if a specific case was given, he said "let a notice be given with authentic facts. The House cannot be media-driven."
Senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh also took a jibe at the Bharatiya Janata Party this morning when he took to microblogging website Twitter and said:
Why blame Mufti Sayeed CM J&k for releasing Masarat Alam when the decision was taken under Governor Rule directly under Modi Government ?
— digvijaya singh (@digvijaya_28) March 10, 2015
On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tried to pacify the voices by claiming that the central government was not consulted on the decision.
"There is an anger in the country, and in the house and I join them... I assure the nation, whatever is happening in the state, it is not being done in consultation with the central government, nor has the central government been informed," Modi said.
He had asked leaders in the Lok Sabha not to make a political issue of the matter, and said: "At least on the issue of separatists and terrorism, the country should not think along party lines."
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had too informed the House members that a clarification was sought from the state government, but the Centre is not satisfied with the reply.
While giving clarifications on his statement in the Rajya Sabha, the Home Minister said Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India.
(With Agency inputs)