Masrat Alam may end in jail again courtesy media frenzy, angry Delhi, pliant Mufti

Masrat Alam may end in jail again courtesy media frenzy, angry Delhi, pliant Mufti

SRINAGAR: Senior Hurriyat leader Masrat Alam might be put behind the bars again, courtesy a vicious hate campaign launched by a few Indian media outlets and New Delhi’s reprimand to chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed over a procession on Wednesday, where pro-freedom slogans were shouted and Pakistani flags were waved.
Masrat and Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani were booked on Wednesday for ‘provocative activities’, which the police said included hoisting of Pakistani flags and shouting pro-freedom slogans during a procession organised to welcome the veteran resistance leader on his arrival from New Delhi.
On Thursday, Home minister Rajnath Singh said, “We will not tolerate anyone raising slogans like Pakistan zindabad on Indian soil.”
Singh had on Wednesday night told reporters that he had spoken to Mufti and “we will take action”. The “action”, many believe, might translate into re-arrest of Alam, who was released last month after four years in prison, and house arrest of ailing Geelani, who too spent most part of the past five years under house arrest.
Singh reportedly told Mufti that the “issue of national security, and any step which can be termed as anti-national cannot be tolerated”, while Mufti is said to have briefed him about what happened at the procession.
According to PTI, the minister also directed that “strictest possible action should be taken against those involved in it.”
According to CNN-IBN, after the incident the Centre directed the state government to re-arrest Alam.
On his part, Mufti told reporters in Anantnag on Thursday that “if anyone has made a mistake, the law will do its work”.
“As far as the public meeting is concerned, I think it is okay. As I say, democracy is a battle of ideas. They are free to have their own way, speak their own mind but something which is not acceptable (hoisting of Pakistan flag or raising Pakistan slogans) will not be tolerated,” Mufti said.
Bharatiya Janata Party had reacted sharply to Alam’s release and told the media that its alliance partner, PDP, had not consulted it before releasing him. The PDP had defended the decision citing court orders on his release.
Indian media outlets had opposed Alam’s release, with some even labeling Mufti as a “pro-Pakistan chief minister”. The anti-Alam frenzy reached a crescendo after he took part in the welcome procession, with some anchors shouting that Alam was waving the Pakistani flag.