J&K HC quashes Masarat Alam’s detention under PSA

SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Friday quashed the detention under Public Safety Act (PSA) of Hurriyat Conference (G) leader Masarat Alam Bhat.

The Jammu and Kashmir government on April 23 had imposed the stringent Public Safety Act on Masarat Alam, who was arrested on sedition charges.

The order was issued by Justice Hasnain Masoodi, who had reserved it on July 7, 2015. Masoodi directed the police to release Alam, who has been lodged in the Kot Balwal jail in Jammu since his arrest on April 17.

Alam was released on March 7, six days after the PDP-led government came to power. He was released after over four years of detention in connection with the 2010 summer agitation in the valley.

Alam’s release had snowballed into a major controversy in March with opposition parties stalling Parliament, demanding the BJP pull out of the J&K ruling alliance.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was forced to give a statement in Parliament, expressing anguish over the release.

However, it was after some letters in social media that showed the state’s Mufti Mohammad Sayeed government had no direct role in the matter and the release order came during the Central rule.

Masarat Alam was rearrested on April 17 for allegedly raising Pakistani flags and chanting pro-Pakistan slogans during a rally organised by hardline Hurriyat faction to welcome Syed Ali Shah Geelani from New Delhi.

Alam was booked under Sections 121-A (waging war against the country), 124 (Sedition), 120-B (Criminal Conspiracy), 147 (rioting) of Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) and other minor offences.

Presently lodged in Kotbalwal Jail Jammu, Alam was first detained under PSA on Oct 2, 1990 and released in November 1991. He was again detained under same law in 1993 and was released in February 1997.

However six months later, he was picked up again, and kept in jail for three years, until May 2000.

He was detained for the fourth time in January, 2001 and released in August 2003. Alam was again detained for the fifth time and was in detention till July 2005.  Since, 16 Jan 2008 he has been detained on many occasions under PSA. 

Shortly after the judgment, General Secretary Muslim League Abdul Ahad Parra said  that keeping the recent statement of Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed in view, the party is hopeful that Aalam will be released now. Alam is the chairman of the Muslim League.

“Mufti Sayeed had said that he has no objection if the court of law releases anybody. Let us see whether Mufti will keep his word this time,” he said.


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