Hardline separatist leader Masarat Alam continued to remain in jail on Friday, a day after getting bail in a sedition case registered against him in 2010 for allegedly circulating a video asking “Indian forces to leave Jammu and Kashmir”.
His colleagues in hardline Hurriyat Conference were not sure of the “intentions of the police authorities regarding his release”. They said they were yet to produce the bail order before the authorities in Baramulla sub-jail where he is lodged.
“The government has registered many cases against him merely on the basis of political vendetta. He got bail in one of those cases. Let us hope that they release him this time and not book him in another case,” Hurriyat spokesperson Ayaz Akbar said.
Surinder Singh, special mobile passenger tax and electricity magistrate, granted Alam bail in the case registered against him in 2010. Alam was arrested in connection with the case on November 27, 2010, after his change of custody was ordered from another case registered at Maisuma police station.
The state pleaded for rejection of bail application on the ground that Alam was involved in non-bailable offences which were ‘heinous’. The authorities also termed his actions as ‘anti-national’.
Alam, on his part, said he was a political worker and police arrested him ‘without rhyme and reason’. He said he was falsely implicated in the case on behalf of some “influential politicians”.
The court, however, said heinousness of an offence alone was not the criteria to refuse bail in case it appears that the severity of punishment attached will compel the accused to evade the process of trial.
The court granted Alam bail against the surety and personal bond of Rs 50,000 on the conditions that he shall not threaten the prosecution witnesses to depose in his favour, will not repeat the similar offence in future and shall not leave the state without the court’s prior permission.
He was released after more than four years in March 2015 triggering a backlash against ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party which formed a government in the state in coalition with the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Alam was again arrested on April 17, 2015, on the charges of ‘sedition’ and ‘waging war against the state’ after he allegedly raised pro-Pakistan slogans in a rally, organised to welcome hardline Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Geelani, in Srinagar.
The 44-year-old separatist has been instrumental in framing marathon strike calendars in 2010 when over 120 youth were killed in security forces action to control spiralling anti-India protests on the streets of Kashmir.