Lawyers of imprisoned hardline Hurriyat leader Masarat Alam, facing sedition charges after allegedly unfurling Pakistan flags and raising slogans, on Wednesday invoked chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed's remarks of battle of ideas for bail.
A battery of lawyers --- which included Shabir Ahmad Bhat, Bilal Ahmad Wani, Javed Hubbi and Mohammad Shafi --- appeared before Budgam chief judicial magistrate Kamlesh Pandita and argued for the bail in favour of Alam.
"It's (CM) Sayeed who believed in the battle of ideas. Alam was merely representing an ideology and a sentiment," the lawyers told the CJM.
These lawyers also referred to a high court judgement passed in 1983 by a state judge where it was held that "unfurling Pakistan flag is not criminal."
However, chief prosecuting officer argued against the bail, referring to the serious charges of sedition and waging war against the state.
In response, Alam's lawyers accused the state police of incorporating Section 121 and 121 (a), sedition and waging war, of the Indian Penal Code much later in the FIR. "It was incorporated after Alam was arrested," they argued.
After hearing the arguments from both sides, the CJM reserved the order for April 25.
Alam, head of the Muslim League and a constituent of Syed Ali Shah Geelani faction of the Hurriyat, also faces charges under Section 13A (unlawful activities), 120B (criminal conspiracy), 147 (riots), 427 (damage to public property) under CrPC.
Alam on April 15 participated in a welcome rally organised in Srinagar on the return of Geelani from Delhi after three months. He allegedly raised pro-Pak slogans in a rally carrying a number of Pakistan flags on the occasion.
Several other leaders, including Geelani, were booked after the rally allowed by the PDP-BJP government almost after six years.
Alam's public rally invoked sharp reaction from New Delhi with Union home minister Rajnath Singh directing the state government to take harsh measures against separatists. The Union minister later congratulated CM Sayeed for Alam's arrest.