In a relief for separatist leader Masarat Alam, who has been languishing in jail for the past six years on charges of fomenting trouble and posing a threat to public safety in the Valley, the Jammu and Kashmir high court has directed state government to immediately release from preventive custody. Alam, lodged in a jail in Kathua near Jammu, was booked under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA) following the 2010 violent unrest that left over 100 people dead in the Kashmir.
Alam was accused of having orchestrated violent anti-India protests in the valley after the Indian Army killed three civilians in an alleged fake shootout near the de facto border with Pakistan. Justice Muzafar Hussain Attar quashed the PSA detention order of Alam. The judgement, reserved by the court last week, ordered the immediate release of Alam who is the chairman of the Muslim League — a constituent of the Syed Ali Shah Geelani-led Hurriyat Conference.
Notably, under the PSA a person can be detained for two years by the order of a district magistrate without any judicial intervention.
On August 21 in 2015, the High Court had quashed previous detention of Bhat, who was booked under Public Safety Act on April 17 in 2015. The separatist leader was arrested under the PSA on April 17 in 2015 in Srinagar after he organized and led a rally to receive hardline Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Geelani. Pakistani flags were allegedly waved in the rally, following which a case was registered against him.