Charged with instigating a crowd to shout pro-Pak slogans, hoist Pakistani flags; Hurriyat (G) calls for strike, Bar, Dukharan-e-Millat lend support; Delhi talks tough
Srinagar: Senior resistance leader Masrat Alam Bhat was arrested on Friday, a day after he and Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani were booked for “provocative actions” during a rally here.
The 45-year-old Alam, who heads a faction of Muslim League, was arrested around 9:00 am Friday from his Zaindar Mohalla residence by a police team and taken to the nearby Shaheed Gunj police station, a close relative of his told Kashmir Reader.
“Over six cops were deployed around our residence since Thursday night. They did not allow Alam to offer Fajr prayers at the Masjid. He did not have his breakfast too,” he added.
A senior police officer, wishing not to be named, told Kashmir Reader that Alam was sent Joint Interrogation Centre (JIC) Budgam for questioning.
Before his arrest, Alam told newsmen that rising of Pakistani flags and chanting pro-freedom slogans was not new and has been happening since 1947.
“This detention will not deter us. Nothing will change,” he said.
Alam’s arrest comes two days after Indian news channels ran a vicious campaign against him after Pakistani flags were waved and pro-freedom slogans were shouted by youth during an impressive rally organized to welcome Hurriyat Conference chairman to Srinagar after three month stay in New Delhi.
Following the tirade, Hurriyat Conference (G) on Thursday condemned the role of Kashmiri reporters working for Indian news channels and warned that if they do not “mend their criminal ways”, they and their “distorted reportage so far” will be exposed before the people. The pro-freedom conglomerate accused these news channels of acting as a mouthpiece of intelligence agencies.
Alam was booked under 13 Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 147 (rioting), 341 (causing injury), 336 (attacking govt employee), 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of Rs. 50 or more) of RPC by the police after the outcry by the Indian media.
Many news channels had also opposed Alam’s release last month and termed chief minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed a “pro-Pakistan” CM. However, Sayeed downplayed the media frenzy and said his government believes in “battle of ideas”.
An official handout issued here justified Alam’s arrest on the grounds that he led a crowd to raise anti-national slogans and hoist Pak flags.
“During investigation the video footage of the incident was examined and it was found that Masarat Alam was involved in leading the crowd to raise anti-national slogans and hoist Pak flags. He himself was found raising such slogans thus instigating the crowd to follow him,” the handout read.
“For his seditious activities, Masarat Alam was arrested on April 17 in the said FIR and is in the police custody. Further investigation is in progress,” it added.
March 8: Alam was released after 53-month-long detention during which he was slapped with Public Safety Act on six times. He was arrested on October 8, 2010 for leading summer unrest triggered by the killing of people; mostly young boys at the hands of the government forces.
March 10: Alam’s releases rocked Indian parliament prompting Prime Minister Narendra Modi to denounce the decision of Jammu & Kashmir government and terming it “unacceptable”
March 11: Deputy Chief Minister and BJP leader Nirmal Singh met party chief Amit Shah at the latter’s residence and apprised him of the situation in the state in the wake of Alam’s release.
March 12: The Jammu and Kashmir government sent a detailed report to the Centre on the release of Alam, a day after BJP sent a stern message to its alliance partner PDP.
March 13: The Modi government issues an advisory to Jammu and Kashmir government asking it to pursue “vigorously” all the 27 criminal cases against Alam.