After Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his government will not tolerate anything that undermines the unity of India, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday defended its decision to release separatist leader Masrat Alam Bhat saying “people can’t be illegally detained in jails.”
“We are part of a democracy and very proud of it. So people of Jammu and Kashmir are also entitled to their democratic rights. We can’t keep people in jails illegally for life,” PDP spokesman and Education minister, Nayeem Akhtar said.
He added Masrat was released by the state high court about six times in the past but was always re-arrested under fresh charges.
“We have nothing to do with it his release was part of a judicial process. We can’t keep a person languishing in jail forever even after the courts have released him,” he said.
“In March 2013, a Supreme Court ruling in the Masarat Alam case said that he cannot be illegally detained, and upheld the high court’s decision quashing his detention,” Akhtar added.
Earlier in the day, Parliament witnessed a ruckus as the opposition raised the issue of the release of 42 years old Masrat.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the Central government was not consulted by the Jammu and Kashmir government over the issue of release of Masrat.
In his statement in the Lok Sabha, Modi said: “I also lending my voice to the outrage that has been displayed in the country and in the House today…This aakrosh (anger) is not about any party or this bench or that bench. It is about the nation.”
He said: “I am assuring the nation that there is no compromise on the unity of the country.”
“We are not going to tolerate any step which undermines the unity of the country,” he said.
Speaking further on the issue, he said: “We have asked for a clarification from the state government on the issue of Masrat Alam’s release and when it comes we will inform you on the matter.”
Masrat was released from Baramulla jail on March 7 after four and a half years of incarceration.