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J-K high court quashes detention order against Muslim League head Masarat Alam

A single bench of the high court, led by Justice Alok Aradhay, ordered that Alam be set free “if not required in any other offence”.

india Updated: Oct 27, 2017 21:01 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Srinagar
Masarat Alam,Jammu and Kashmir high court,Detention order
Firebrand separatist Masarat Alam was allegedly instrumental in framing marathon strike calendars in 2010, when over 120 protesters were killed by security forces as anti-India protests gained momentum on the streets of Kashmir.

The Jammu and Kashmir high court on Friday quashed yet another order of detention issued against Muslim League chairman Masarat Alam under the Public Safety Act (PSA).

A single bench of the high court, led by Justice Alok Aradhay, ordered that Alam be set free “if not required in any other offence”. According to reports, this is the 35th time the court has quashed the hardline separatist leader’s detention under the PSA since the 1990s.

“The arguments in the case were completed yesterday, and the court quashed the PSA today,” said a Muslim League member.

Under the PSA, described as a “lawless law” by Amnesty International, police can imprison a man for at least six months sans trial. Alam continues to be in prison, with authorities booking him in one case after another under the PSA in a seemingly never-ending cycle even as the court continues quashing multiple detention orders.

Police had filed a case under section 120B and 13 ULA against Alam in May, soon after the court granted him bail in another case. Consequently, the 46-year-old firebrand leader has remained in jail for most of the time since his arrest in October 2010 for allegedly instigating a mass public agitation.

He was released after more than four years in March 2015, triggering a backlash against the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party. Coming under intense pressure, the state government arrested Alam again on April 17, 2015. The separatist leader was charged with ‘sedition’ and ‘waging war against the state’ after he allegedly raised pro-Pakistan slogans at a rally organised to welcome hardline Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Geelani in Srinagar.

Geelani has often accused the state government of prolonging Alam’s “unlawful detention” out of vengeance.

Alam was allegedly instrumental in framing marathon strike calendars in 2010, when over 120 protesters were killed by security forces as anti-India protests gained momentum on the streets of Kashmir.

First Published: Oct 27, 2017 21:00 IST