J&K's release of 'terrorist' Alam unacceptable, PM tells parliament

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today told Parliament that the release from prison of separatist Masarat Alam by the Jammu & Kashmir government was ''unacceptable'' and that the decision was taken without the union government's consent.

The PM's statement clearly indicates a growing rift between the ideologically far apart BJP and local party PDP.

"I also lend my voice to the outrage on the release of the separatist ... this is not one party's outrage, it is the nation's outrage," PM Modi said grandiosely in the Lok Sabha, while promising that there will be "no compromise on the integrity of the nation" or public safety and security.

Modi said the J&K government had not consulted the Centre on "its activities post government formation" last week.

"Don't teach us patriotism," he told the opposition, which was on its feet as PM Modi's speech ended, with the Congress Party's Mallikarjun Kharge asking the telling question, "If you feel so strongly about this, why doesn't the BJP withdraw support to the PDP?"

Earlier, home minister Rajnath Singh said that the Centre had asked the J&K government for a report on the release but was not satisfied with its response.

"I assure the house that after the full clarification from the state government, if needed, we will issue the most severe advisory," Rajnath said, listing charges against the released alleged terrorist Masarat Alam.

Alam, 44, was arrested in 2010 for allegedly fanning trouble during street protests in which over 100 people died in Kashmir. He was released on Saturday from the Baramulla Jail on the order of chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, whose Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has formed a government in the state in an uneasy alliance with the blatantly pro-Hindu BJP.

The PDP says Mr Alam has been released as part of its reconciliation efforts, and that separatists cannot be engaged with or brought into the peace process if they continue to be jailed.