Under sharp security spotlight, hardline Hurriyat leader Masarat Alam is seeking damages now for his “illegal detention” as J-K High Bar Association (HBA) on Friday threw its weight behind the released separatist who is at the eye of a political storm.
Alam’s lawyers in Srinagar has decided to pursue the case of compensation to the tune of Rs 50 lakh for, what his lawyer plea claims, was “illegal and improper detention.”
The J-K high court has granted four weeks time recently to the state government to respond to the plea made by Alam, who was released on March 7 after the BJP-PDP coalition government took over the reins of the state.
A single bench of the high court, headed by justice Bansi Lal Bhat, has posted the matter for further consideration on April 7.
J&K High Court Bar Association on Friday also came to the defence of Alam claiming “the 42-year-old separatist was illegally detained for four-and-half-years.”
“Detaining a person repeatedly on same charges is not only a serious violation of international covenants on Human Rights, but is also a violation of the provisions of draconian Public Safety Act itself, and the law laid down by the Supreme Court of India in this behalf,” read the KBA statement issued in Srinagar.
The KBA reaction comes just a day after Union home minister Rajnath Singh directed the state government to pursue all 27 cases against Alam afresh and keep an eye on his movement too.
“Any fresh grounds (against Alam) should be considered objectively by the detaining authority and should reach to a conclusion that the fresh grounds warrant his detention again. The said order of the detaining authority is again subject to approval of the advisory board constituted under the Act and also subject to judicial scrutiny,” said the KBA statement.
The lawyers’ body alleged that Public Safety Act is “abused and misused by all the authorities, including the government”.
“The people are detained repeatedly under the PSA and when the order is challenged before the court and is quashed, they detain the person again on the same charges to make his release impossible,” alleged the KBA.
Alam, who was arrested in October 2010, was released in March after being detained on six occasions under the PSA.
The KBA claims Alam was detained under the PSA for 16 times since 1990. “He (Alam) has thus continued in illegal detention for 15 years from 1990 till March, 2015, in jails, though no court has found him guilty in any case or convicted him for any charge,” the Bar said.