A letter written by Jammu and Kashmir home department to district magistrate of Jammu has stoked a fresh controversy over the release of hardline separatist Masarat Alam as it now claims that order for his release was sent in February this year when Governor NN Vohra was in charge of affairs of the state.
This letter puts both -- Mufti Mohammed Sayeed government as well as the Governor -- in a piquant situation as the new government was trying to claim credit for something done during Vohra's tenure while the Governor is understood to be not aware of the move being undertaken by the state home department.
Surprisingly, a report submitted by additional secretary in the state home department Sudershan Kumar on Monday to the ministry of home affairs makes no mention about his letter written on February four, 2015. The report had summed up saying that "there are no fresh grounds for booking him (Alam) under Public Safety Act (PSA)".
The letter, which surfaced suddenly last night having clear overwriting on the date, was received by district magistrate, Jammu, Ajit Sahu on March seven, 2015 who in turn informed the Superintendent of Police (Jammu) to release Alam "if not released as yet and communicate action taken to the principal secretary to J-K home department accordingly."
The state department, in the letter of February four, referred to a December nine, 2014 communication regarding PSA of Alam which was sent to department of law and justice which opined "....the Supreme Court is clear that any fresh order of detention is issued by the Government, the same shall not come into force for a period of one week from the state of communication of the order to enable the detenu to pursue appropriate legal remedy."
The home department, however, said a "fresh order can be issued for detention of detenu (Alam) after following the procedure prescribed in the Act and directions of the Supreme Court."
Alam's release had kicked off a political storm in the state especially after Sayeed had directed the police to release all political prisoners. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Rajnath Singh disapproved Sayeed's action.