Srinagar: A local court on Wednesday granted bail to senior Hurriyat Conference (G) leader and Muslim League chairman Masrat Alam Bhat in connection with a case registered against him in 2010 for asking Indian forces to quit Jammu and Kashmir. Alam remains in custody.
“In regard to the facts and circumstances of the case, I find no reason to let the accused (Alam) (stay in) continuous imprisonment as continuity in custody shall result in pre-trial punishment and is likely to deny him an opportunity to seek appropriate legal assistance in preparing a effective defence (sic),” the court of special mobile passenger tax and electricity magistrate, Surinder Singh, said and accordingly granted bail to Alam on furnishing a surety of Rs 50,000 and a personal bond of the same amount.
It also directed Alam not to cause any inducement, threat or coercion to the prosecution witnesses to depose in his favour. The other conditions imposed by the court include that he will not commit or repeat a similar offence, or leave the state without the court’s prior permission.
The case (FIR 52/2010 under Section 13 ULA Act and 124-A/506 RPC) was registered in police station Kothibagh following a CID report that Alam has circulated a video in which he was not only trying to spread “dissatisfaction among the forces personnel” but was asking them to quit Jammu and Kashmir, the prosecution had said.
Alam was arrested in connection with the case on 27 November 2010 after his change of custody was ordered from another case (FIR 7/2010) registered at police station Maisuma.
Alam, through his counsel, Shabir Ahmad Bhat had pleaded that he is a political worker and police arrested him ‘without rhyme and reason’. Alam said he has been falsely implicated in the FIR which was lodged on behalf of some “influential politicians”.
The 43-year-old leader was released after a 53-month-long captivity on March 7 last year. However, he was again rearrested on April 17 2015 and was ordered to be detained under the PSA by the ruling PDP-BJP government to “calm down anger” expressed by Indian PM Narendra Modi against his release.
To discourage repeated detentions under PSA, courts have held that the second detention order can be passed only if there are fresh grounds. The courts have made it clear that fresh grounds cannot mean “apprehension expressed by authorities or the police that the detainee might create trouble on his release”.