Hurriyat Leader Masarat Alam Bhat Released on J&K HC’s Order
Masarat Alam Bhat has been in preventive custody under the Public Safety Act (PSA) since April 2015.
Masarat Alam Bhat, senior hardline Hurriyat Conference leader, was released from jail on Thursday after a year and eight months in jail. On Wednesday, Jammu and Kashmir High Court had ordered Bhat’s release, who has been in preventive custody under the Public Safety Act (PSA) since April 2015.
Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar, while allowing Bhat's plea challenging the latest of the detention orders under Public Safety Act, held his detention illegal on several grounds.
The High Court said in its order on Tuesday:
By issuance of writ of certiorari, order of detention bearing No. 85/DMB/PSA/2016 dated 1 September 2016, passed by the (deputy commissioner Baramulla) is quashed with a further direction to the (government) to release Alam forthwith from preventive custody.
Bhat has been booked under PSA several times since April 2015 and the latest order in the series was issued by District Magistrate Baramulla.
The order was passed on the basis of Bhat's meeting on 11 August this year with four persons who visited him at District Jail, Baramulla.
The persons had requested authorities to allow them meet one Assadullah Parray, who is allegedly affiliated with Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Geelani.
The authorities claimed that instead of meeting Parray, they met Bhat, who allegedly advised them to activate the workers for a more visible and prominent role in the turmoil.
According to the order, Bhat was accused of making the ongoing agitation "successful" while in custody of the state authorities.
A case was registered against Bhat at Baramulla police station on 30 August, two days before the detention order under PSA against him was passed by the deputy commissioner.
The allegation in the FIR and statements of all these police personnel would, prima facie, show that all the police authorities, posted at Sub Jail Baramulla, have failed to discharge their duties in accordance with the law because it was within the competence and authority of these police personnel to ensure that the visitors would meet Parray, for meeting with whom they had sought permission and not (Alam).
The court also rendered the detention order illegal for the reason that the bail application of Bhat had been rejected by a court and he continued to languish in state custody.
The court said that in a democratic society, the laws of the land must be implemented even in the face of “extreme provocations”. Bhat was released after four-and-half years of detention soon after the PDP-BJP government took charge in March last year.
However, he was re-arrested on 17 April 2015 and detained under the PSA for alleged anti-national activities during a rally to welcome Geelani home from Delhi.
Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.