Who is Masarat Alam and why his release from jail created uproar in Kashmir, India: Explained

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Bengaluru, March 9: Masarat Alam is the man whose release from jail created a huge uproar across the country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been facing tremendous pressure from the Opposition in the Parliament. Both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha were adjourned over controversy on Alam.

44-year-old Alam has been released from Baramulla jail on Saturday, March 7. This was the second time when Jammu Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed has been facing criticism just after taking charge of the state government.

Masarat Alam

Who is Masarat Alam:

  • Over 110 people, mostly young students, died during a massive protest in Kashmir.
  • Alam, a defiant hardline separatist leader, has been accused of organising the protest following the killing of three people by Indian Army near Baramulla.
  • The people, who initially were identified as Pakistani infiltrators, were killed in an alleged 'fake encounter'.
  • Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq launched the protest.
  • Hurriyat Conference sought for complete demilitarization of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Alam's party -- Muslim League party is a part of Hurriyat Conference.
  • As many as six policemen were promoted when Alam was arrested in Oct 2010.
  • Rs 10 lakh cash reward was distributed among cops and informers who had worked in the mission of nabbing Alam.
  • Alam faces around 15 pending cases which included those registered under section 120 and 121 of Ranbir Penal Code (waging war against the country) and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Why did Alam's release create controversy in Kashmir, India?

  • Opposition party members asked Modi to answer why BJP-PDP government released Alam who faces cases such as waging war against the country.
  • Congress said, "If such people are released, no one will survive in this country."
  • Releasing terrorists like Alam would result in a great damage for the country, said Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge.
  • Trinamool Congress (TMC) asked BJP to quit from Jammu Kashmir government.

What did Mufti Mohammed Sayeed say?

  • Sayeed's party -- PDP in Kashmir states that this is just one step in opening up the channel for talks with the separatists.
  • Jammu Kashmir CM also asked the state police chief to initiate the process of releasing other political prisoners against whom there were no criminal charges.

What did Alam say about the controversy?

  • Changing (state) governments does not change the reality on the ground. It does not affect the status of Jammu and Kashmir. Only the people (of the state) can change it.
  • I have not been done any favour by the government. My release is part of the normal judicial process.
  • If there is any hue and cry over my release, it is their headache.
  • We (Muslim League) are a part of the forum (Hurriyat Conference). Whatever decision the forum takes on talks, I will follow it.

What did Narendra Modi say?

  • Modi denounced the release of Alam by the Jammu and Kashmir government of which BJP is a partner.
  • The PM said that he shared the "outrage" over the unacceptable decision and would take whatever action is required.
  • He also termed Mufti's decision as anti-national.
  • He claimed that it could be dangerous to the country's integrity.
  • He also threatened PDP to pull out of the Mufti Mohammad Sayeed-led government.
  • Modi also asserted that PDP did not consult or informed the central government about the decision before releasing Alam.

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