JK Court Directs Govt To Free Masarat Aalam
Kashmir ‘protests’ leader Masarat Aalam
SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court Tuesday quashed the detention of senior Hurriyat leader and Muslim League chairman, Masarat Aalam Bhat, under Public Safety Act, paving way for his release.
Ordering the J&K government to set Aalam free, a bench of Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar ruled that the "sacred" laws are meant to protect the rights of people, “It becomes duty of the court to enforce the laws of the land even in extreme circumstances,” Justice Attar observed, while quashing PSA detention orders of September 1 and November 30, 2015 against Aalam.
Muhammad Rafiq Ganai, the spokesperson of Muslim League, told The Citizen that the court has ordered release of Aalam, 45, who was set free in March after four and a half years of imprisonment but rearrested within a month, allegedly for raising pro-Pakistan slogans in Srinagar.
Ganai said Aalam, who is presently lodged in Kot Bhalwal, Jammu, has been booked under PSA for 31st time since the outbreak of armed insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir in early nineties, but all of the cases against him have been termed “illegal” by the court.
"Each time, the court has termed his detention as illegal. Police and the state government have made a mockery of the law by arresting Aalam illegally on flimsy grounds Again and again,” Ganai said.
He said the PDP-BJP coalition government headed by the Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has slapped PSA on Aalam for third time, “Masarat was booked under PSA when he was in Srinagar early this year. The second PSA was slapped by the high court in Jammu while the third PSA was invoked when he was in jail. On all occasions, we approached the court, challenged the charges and the court quashed them,” he said.
The J&K Police had registered a case against Aalam, Syed Ali Geelani and several other separatist leaders under Sections 121-A (waging war against the country), 124 (sedition), 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 147 (rioting) of Ranbir Penal Code among others.
Widely believed to be the architect of the popular 2010 civilian unrest in Kashmir, Aalam has been seen by security agencies as a "threat" to "law and order" in Kashmir Valley. On August 21, High Court had quashed detention of Aalam who was booked under Public Safety Act on April 15. However, he was booked under PSA again and shifted to Kot Bhalwal jail after his release by the PDP-BJP government in Jammu and Kashmir triggered a controversy.