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By Harshmeet Singh

After taking the decision to release Masarat Alam, Jammu and Kashmir government under the leadership of PDP’s Mufti Mohamad Sayeed is ready to drop another bomb. This time it is planning to release Ashiq Hussain Faktoo, Kashmir’s longest serving prisoner.

PDP’s coalition partner BJP is not happy with Mufti’s next move. Talking on the issue Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “I assure the country that the Centre will not accept anything that challenges the country’s unity.”

The state’s former Chief Minister, Omar Abdulla also took a dig at the PDP-BJP government when he tweeted “To say Alam wasn’t charged is a blatant untruth – he was charged under sections Sec 120 121 (waging war against state). 120-b & 307 also,”

After the release of Alam, both the parties have been pleading different interpretations of the Common Minimum Program on the basis of which the coalition government came into being in Jammu and Kashmir. Jugal Kishore Sharma, BJP’s chief for J&K said that “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,”

CM Mufti’s intentions

Before his arrest in 2010 when he was charged for being the key person behind stone pelting protests in the state that took over hundred lives, Alam had a sound following in the valley. His sharp opinions and demands of an ‘independent Kashmir’ was music to the ears of many separatists.

According to experts, one of the key reasons behind Mufti praising separatists is to take Hurriyat into confidence and bring them to the dialogue table.

PDP’s spokesperson, Naeem Akhtar made his party’s intentions clear when he said “This (Masarat’s release) has to be seen in proper perspective. It is an important part of our CMP to involve all stakeholders in the state and across the Line of Control for reconciliation and peace in the state,”

Is Mufti getting a complementary response from the other end?

If the PDP thought that their favour would tilt Alam’s outlook towards them, they were in for a rude shock. Hours after his release, Alam said “Changing governments does not change the reality on the ground. It does not affect the status of Jammu and Kashmir. Only the people can change it,” Alam is the leader of the Muslim League that has expressed its allegiance with the Hurriyat conference.

If Mufti intends to please the separatists by letting go off the prisoners, he might end up paying a heavy price for his assumptions that Hurriyat will reciprocate and help in bringing peace to the valley. It remains to be seen how far the BJP would allow him to carry on his experiment with country’s security.


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