There was a furore in the Indian parliament Monday after the insurgency-hit Kashmir state freed a separatist leader, with Premier Narendra Modi saying his government was not consulted.
Masrat Alam, 44, released from prison on Saturday, is accused of organizing anti-India protests across Kashmir valley in 2010, in which more than 100 people died during clashes with security forces.
Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is in a ruling alliance with the regional People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir state and the separatist’s release sharpened the ideological differences between the parties.
“I lend my voice to the outrage over the release of the separatist. I assure the country that the federal government will not accept any such move. We will not compromise on the country’s unity and integrity,” Modi said in the parliament.
The premier said an explanation had been sought from the state government.
Opposition lawmakers repeatedly stalled parliament proceedings on the issue and demanded the BJP withdraw support from the PDP if it was not consulted by its partner on decisions involving national security.
Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, who is the PDP chief, issued orders to release Alam in a move said to be part of reconciliation efforts and involving separatists in a peace process in the troubled state.
Alam, chief of Jammu and Kashmir Muslim League and a leader of the separatist Hurriyat group, had secured bail in 27 criminal cases he was facing and there was no question of keeping him behind bars illegally, PDP politicians said.
India accuses Pakistan of backing militants and encouraging separatist leaders to foment trouble in India-administered Kashmir, a charge that Islamabad denies. Nearly 45,000 people have died in the secessionist strife in India-administered Kashmir since the late 1980s.