Masarat Alam put under preventive detention again

SRINAGAR (TIP): The Jammu & Kashmir government on April 23 ordered separatist Masarat Alam’s preventive detention under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA) and shifted him from the Valley to a Jammu jail.

Alam was arrested on April 17 for seditious activities two days after he was booked for Pakistani flag waving at a rally he had organized to welcome separatist Syed Ali Geelani upon his return from Delhi.

The government can put a detainee under arrest without trial as per PSA’s provisions for three months. The detention can later be extended for six months.

Alam was earlier released on March 7 after over four years under preventive detention for organizing 2010 street protesters against the civilian killings. Over 120 people were killed in security forces firings on protesters throughout the summer of 2010

Alam’s detention under PSA came a day after he moved a local court for bail citing a 1983 high court verdict saying waving Pakistani flag was not an offence.

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The court had heard arguments and counter-arguments about the bail application and fixed April 25 for verdict on Alam’s application.

Alam’s lawyer, Shabir Ahmad Bhat, said his client challenged sections under which he was arrested on April 17.

Bhat cited the 1983 high court verdict and said Alam cannot be held or detained under any offence.

The prosecution opposed the bail saying Alam’s offence amounted to waging war against the country.

“As such Section 479 (1), Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), clearly restricts the powers of the court to release the accused on bail,” the┬áprosecution said.

The prosecution described Masarat a habitual offender, against whom 28 cases were registered.

It said his activities were against the security, peace and sovereignty of the state while arguing the investigation in the case was at the preliminary stage and Alam’s custodial interrogation was needed.

Geelani separately called for a shutdown against Alam’s detention under PSA on Saturday and asked people to protest the government’s action. He said Alam faced threats to his life as the atmosphere was “very hostile for the azadi loving people” citing killing of Pakistani prisoner Sanaullah in the Jammu prison.

“There is no moral or legal justification in arresting and slapping of PSA upon Masarat Alam. Indian TV channels ran a media trial against him and under pressure Mufti (Mohammad Sayeed) led government surrendered before the BJP and detained Masarat Alam Jail under the black law — PSA,” Geelani said in a statement.

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