Stains in PDP-BJP govt over release of separatist Masarat Alam

Jammu/Srinagar, Mar 8: Strains showed up on Sunday in the week-old PDP-BJP coalition government over the release of hardline separatist leader Masarat Alam, with the saffron party slamming the "unilateral" decision and warning that such things would not be tolerated.

BJP said the decision was not a part of Common Minimum Programme (CMP) on the basis of which the alliance government is being run in Jammu and Kashmir but PDP differed, insisting that it is in tune with the CMP.

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State BJP chief and MP Jugal Kishore Sharma said his party was not even consulted before the decision was taken.

Senior state BJP leaders met here today to discuss the issue, he said, adding his party will convey its "displeasure" to PDP leadership and ask it to follow the "coalition dharma".

BJP has taken "very seriously" the "unilateral" decision of Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and the party is "deeply hurt", he said about the release of the hardline separatist leader which has kicked up a major controversy.

He said Sayeed did not take its coalition partner BJP into confidence before taking the decision to release Alam.

"We had no prior information or knowledge on his release. This is not our decision and we had not given our consent on this," he told reporters.

"We are not going to tolerate any such statement or any such decision which is not as per the Common Minimum Programme that we had agreed upon. We have decided to convey our displeasure to our partner so that such things do not happen in future," he said.

He underlined that this issue does not figure in the CMP. PDP spokesman and Education Minister Naeem Akhtar, on the other hand, said the decision was in line with the CMP which talks about engaging all stakeholders for establishing peace in Jammu and Kashmir.

"This (the release of Alam) has to be seen in proper perspective. It is an important part of our Common Minimum Programme to involve all stakeholders in the state, and across the Line of Control, for reconciliation and peace in the state," Akhtar told PTI.

"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," he added.


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