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Centre was not informed by state on decision to release Masarat Alam, Modi says in Parliament

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Relief for Modi as court upholds SIT closure report
Relief for Modi as court upholds SIT closure report

NEW DELHI: Responding to the opposition charges in Parliament, home minister Rajnath Singh on Monday said the Centre had sought report from the J&K government on the controversial release of hardline separatist Masarat Alam from jail.

Making a statement in the Lok Sabha, Rajnath Singh said national security and safety will not be compromised and assured the House that the Union government had also taken the matter seriously and further clarification had been sought from the state government.

“We will ensure strong advisory is sent out to the state government if the clarification isn’t satisfactory,” he added.

Prime Minister Modi also made a statement in the House on the issue. “I am in sync with the outrage that is being asserted in the nation and the Parliament,” Modi said.

Modi said the Centre was not consulted by the J&K government on the decision to release Masarat Alam. “Whatever action is being taken in J&K is being taken without consulting coalition partner or with central government,” he said.

The Prime Minister conceded the Centre had to take some blame since it was in coalition in Jammu & Kashmir. But he assured the House that no step which undermined unity of the country would be tolerated. “Do not teach us patriotism,” PM Narendra Modi told the opposition.

“We have asked for a clarification on the Masrat Alam issue, when it comes we will inform you,” the Prime Minister said.
Cornering the government in both houses of Parliament, senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said the PM must clarify the government’s stand. Other leaders – BSP’s Mayawati, JD (U)’s SharadYadav and TMC’s Derek O’Brien also wanted Modi to clear the government’s stand on the controversial release.

The home ministry has already sought a report from the J&K government on circumstances leading to the release of Masarat, the mastermind of the 2010 stone-pelting protests in the Valley that left 112 people dead. Masarat has over 15 cases pending against him. This is the third instance since the PDP and BJP formed government in the state on March 1 that BJP has been left red-faced by its new-found ally. Sayeed had ruffled saffron feathers on the day of his swearing-in, crediting Pakistan and separatists for successful elections in the state. The BJP-led government at the Centre had to distance itself from the comment in Parliament last week. This was followed by a group of PDP MLAs asking for the return of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru’s remains.

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