Srinagar: The High Court on Friday quashed the detention under the Public Safety Act of senior resistance leader Masrat Alam, more than four months after ruling PDP-BJP government slapped the draconian law against the 43-year-old to calm down “anger” expressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi against his release.
“Petition is allowed,” Justice Hasnain Massodi announced in an open court. However, a detailed judgment could not be accessed immediately.
The petition had been filed by Alam, senior Hurriyat conference leader and chairman of Muslim League, to challenge his detention under the PSA slapped against him by the government on April 17.
Budgam deputy commissioner, who had signed the latest of the PSA dossiers against Masrat, said that he has been booked under PSA on charges of “sedition, carrying anti-national activities, provocation against the state besides some other offences”.
Alam, who apparently is being dubbed as a successor to octogenarian Hurriyat (G) Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani, was released after a 53-month-long captivity on March 7. Soon, Indian media channels launched a vicious campaign against his release. The BJP dissociated itself from the decision to release him. Rather, it pulled up its alliance partner PDP, saying the party was not taken into confidence while deciding on his release.
Soon the issue rocked Indian Parliament and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that Alam’s release was unacceptable and ordered without his government’s consent.
“This outrage is not just one party’s. This outrage is felt by the entire country,” Modi told Lok Sabha on March 9.
With today’s order, it is for the 26th time that Masrat’s detention under PSA has been either quashed by a court or withdrawn by the government.
Alam, a resident of Zaindar Mohalla Habba Kadal in old Srinagar, was arrested after news channels showed him shouting pro-Pakistan slogans in a rally organised to welcome Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Shah Geealani on his arrival from New Delhi.
The PSA was slapped at a time when Mufti and his party have come under severe criticism for backtracking on his “battle of ideas”. In opposition, he and his party have been criticising the National Conference for arresting resistance leaders under PSA. He had promised that he would release these leaders once in power.