Srinagar: A court in Budgam rejected bail plea of senior Hurriyat Conference leader Masarat Alam on Saturday, four days after he was officially booked under Public Safety Act, a law described as ‘lawless’ by global human rights watchdog amnesty international.
“The bail application of (Masrat Alam) is rejected as being bereft of any merit,” said Chief Judicial Magistrate Budgam, Kamlesh Pandita after considering arguments by Alam’s counsel and objections by the prosecution.
Alam, who heads Muslim League, was arrested on April 17, two days after a rally organized at Hyderpora here by the Hurriyat Conference to welcome its chairman Syed Ali Geelani on his return from New Delhi, and just over a month after his release following more than five years of detention.
On the day of rally (on April 15), Police filed FIR (92/2015) against Alam and six other leaders including Geelani under RPC sections of 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 147 (rioting), 341 (causing injury), 336 (attacking government employee), 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of Rs 50 or more) read with 13 Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
Later, police inserted two more RPC sections under 121(waging war against country), 124A (sedition), an offence punishable with life imprisonment or death. While Alam’s counsel alleged that the offences were inserted under “force of political masters and (Indian) media discussions”, prosecution said that Investigating Officer was well within the right to do so.
Apart from Alam and Geelani, these charges have also been slapped on Peer Saifullah, Raja Mehraj-ud-din Kalwal, Javed Ahmad Najar and Zahoor Ahmed Kanna and amalgam’s spokesman Ayaz Akbar.
In their arguments, a battery of lawyers, representing Alam, had said also submitted that codal formalities were not adhered to by the investigating agency in cooperating offences under sections 121 and 124-A RPC as there was no complaint filed by the District Magistrate or any such officer empowered by the government in this behalf.
They had also argued that the hoisting of the national Pakistani flag in Kashmir was not unlawful as held by the High Court (in case of Hajra Vs State and others).
The prosecution had submitted besides hoisting Pakistani flag, Alam along with other accused persons had organized “illegal procession” to receive Syeed Ali Geelani and chanted anti-India and pro-Pakistan slogans in a well knit conspiracy to undermine and destabilize the integrity and sovereignty of India as “Pakistani agent.”
“So the (High court) judgment is distinguishable from the present facts and circumstances of the case.” The prosecution had also submitted that Alam was a habitual “anti-India offender” and that his activities are “inimical” to the sovereignty and integrity of India. It said there are already 27 First Information Reports pending against him in different police stations.
The prosecution also pleaded that if Alam was released on bail, it would amount to “threat to the peace and security of the State as well as India.”
The objections by prosecution were in response to pleading by Alam’s counsel that he has been implicated in false and manufactured case “just to gag his opinion which is neither sedition nor undermining the sovereignty or integrity of the country.”
They also pleaded that Alam was being hold up at the behest of the media trial which provoked the State to direct the police for registration of the case against him as he is very popular among the populace.
Alam’s counsel also had argued that the offences against him are not prima facie made out and such he be admitted to bail.
“At this stage of investigation, only merits of the bail application are to be taken note of and also appearance of reasonable grounds for believing that he has been guilty of an offence punishable with death or imprisonment for life. This is not the stage where prima facie case is to be made out as if accused is required to be charged with or discharged from the allegations,” the court said..
More so, the court said, the offence under section 121 RPC carries the punishment of death or life sentence.
“(with regard to it), section 497 (1) CrPC puts legal restraint on this Court for bailing out the accused (Alam),” the court said and rejected his bail plea.
On Wednesday, the CJM had reserved the orders on the bail plea after hearing CPO M Saleem while Alam was represented by advocates Shabir Ahmad Bhat, Javed Hubbi, Bilal Ahmad Wani and Mohammad Shafi.