Masarat Alam Rally: No Arrests Yet, But BJP Wants To Deal With Separatists With A Strong Hand

16/04/2015 5:03 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
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Supporters of senior separatist leader of Hardliner Faction of All Parties Hurriyat Conference Syed Ali Shah Geelani shout slogans during a rally in Srinagar, India, Wednesday, April 15, 2015. Geelani, who returned from New Delhi after over two months, was given a rousing welcome by his supporters and leaders of Hurriyat during the rally. (AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan)

JAMMU — A day after separatists raised pro-Pakistan slogans and waived Pakistani flags at a rally in Srinagar, prompting demands for action against them, BJP today said the party — both in the state and at the central level — will deal with such elements with a strong hand.

"We are on the same page. So far the BJP's national and state units are concerned, there is no difference over the issue of action against separatists...," newly-nominated BJP Member of Legislative Council, Surinder Ambardar, told reporters here.

An FIR was registered last night against several separatist leaders including hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Masarat Alam Bhat for provocative activities. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today asked J&K Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed to take stringent action against the separatist leaders.

"I have had a discussion with the J&K Chief Minister, and I have asked him to take stringent steps in this regard," Rajnath told the reporters here.

Singh's statement came as a response to Sayeed statement about "the law taking its own course" even as demands for Alam's arrest resurfaced.

A host of rallies and gatherings were organised across the country in protest against separatist leader Masarat Alam and the J&K government.

While the Shiv Sena led a protest in Jammu, the Youth Congress led another agitation in Bengaluru.

On Wednesday, Alam sparked a fresh controversy by raising anti-India slogans to greet separatist leader Geelani. The incident led to widespread criticism over Mufti Sayeed's move to release Alam, a political prisoner, from the Baramulla prison, as there were no criminal charges against him.

Alam is the chairman of Muslim League, a constituent of hardline Hurriyat Conference led by Geelani, and is widely seen as the latter's heir apparent.

He had been convicted of organising anti-India protests which resulted in the death of over 100 people, due to stone pelting, in 2010. Masrat Alam's release from detention was ordered last month by CM Sayeed immediately after taking over the reins of power in J&K.

Sayeed's decision had attracted a lot of flak both from the opposition and his ruling ally Bharatiya Janata Party.

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