Srinagar: The 36th detention order of senior resistance leader Masarat Alam Bhat under the draconian Public Safety Act (PSA) mentions charges registered against him in the years 1999 and 2000.
“The subject (Masarat) on 08/09/1999 visited Kralgund along with his associates and violated restrictions under sec 144 CrPc at the place and formed an unlawful assembly instigating people of the area,” reads the dossier prepared by the district police of Kupwara.
An FIR 14/1999 was registered against Alam in Police Station Handwara under section 188 RPC, 13 ULA Act.
The dossier further reads that on 01/11/2000, Masarat went to Chotipora Handwara along with his associates and “violated the restrictions which were in place and delivered hateful speech and instigated people to seek partition/secession of the state (from) the union of India and raised anti slogans on the occasion”.
An FIR 141/2000 under section 188 RPC and 13 ULA Act was registered against Alam in police station Handwara.
On 08/04/2015, police said in the dossier, “Masarat along with his associates visited different villages of Kralgund area and at Jamia Masjid Ganashpora organized an unlawful procession wherein he delivered a speech seeking secession of state from the union of India and raised anti-national and pro-azadi slogans.”
An FIR 30/15 under section 142 A, 147 RPC was registered against Alam by police in this regard at police station Kralgund in Handwara.
AI describes PSA ‘a lawless law’
HOW IT WORKS: Police prepare a dossier against a person the state intends to arrest under the PSA. The divisional commissioner or district commissioners concerned sign the PSA order. They can reject dossiers but rarely do. In fact, DC’s are said to be mere stamping authorities. Once okayed, the PSA order goes to chief minister who heads Home department for final confirmation.
ITS VICTIMS: Tens of hundreds since 1990, including resistance leaders, protesters, stone throwers, militants.
Grim Data: The govt recently informed the Assembly that the previous NC regime had detained 1309 persons under PSA during its six-year rule. High court had quashed detention of 852. Currently, 37 persons behind the bars under the law: 17 locals and 20 foreigners
PROTECTION: No case or legal proceedings can be filed against any person for executing the law
PROPERTY: If the PSA order is issued while the person is on the run, the government can detain his property (meaning he cannot sell his property)
Human rights watchdog, Amnesty International in its report in 2011, described PSA as ‘A lawless law’. The report forced the government to make some amendments. After studying the amendments, AI came up with another report titled ‘PSA still a lawless law’
The police in the dossier say that though Alam is under police custody at police station Handwara, there “is every apprehension that he may be released on bail by the court”.
“… he may once again disturb peace and tranquillity of the general public and will continue with his anti-national activities and will put all his efforts to create a situation of chaos in the area in particular and in Valley in general,” reads the police dossier, and adds, “Thus warranting his detention under Public Safety Act (PSA).”
The DC Kupwara in his PSA detention order writes, “Masarat has constantly been found involved in breaking the law of the land and in spite of various FIRs registered against him under the provisions of the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC), he has not shun the path of subversion and violence.”
“It has been observed that the activities of Masarat are highly prejudicial to the maintenance of peace and public order and warrant immediate measures, as normal law of the land has proved ineffective to deter him from indulging in repeated acts of subversion and violence,” the DC said in the order.
Subsequently, Masarat was driven back to Kot Balwal Jail in Jammu on November 15.
Alam was released after a 53-month-long captivity on March 7, 2015. However he was again re-arrested on 17 April 2015 and was ordered to be detained under the PSA by the ruling PDP-BJP government to calm down “anger” expressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi against his release. His 35 PSA detentions were also quashed by courts with a direction to authorities to release him. But he continues to be behind bars.