Masarat Alam back in jail

‘In the last 25 years, Alam has spent more than 17 years in jail under the PSA’

April 23, 2015 12:53 pm | Updated November 16, 2021 05:08 pm IST - Srinagar

In this April 17, 2015 photo, a policeman escorts separatist leader Masarat Alam after his arrest from his home in Srinagar. Photo: Special Arrangement

In this April 17, 2015 photo, a policeman escorts separatist leader Masarat Alam after his arrest from his home in Srinagar. Photo: Special Arrangement

The Jammu & Kashmir government on Wednesday evening booked Hurriyat leader Masarat Alam under the Public Safety Act (PSA), rendering irrelevant his pending bail plea which was to come up in court on Saturday.

Alam was released last month after being detained for four-and-a-half years under six consecutive PSAs.

17 years in jail

This is the 26th time Alam is being booked under the Act since 1990. According to senior police officials, in the last 25 years, Alam has spent more than 17 years in jail under the PSA, which allows detention of a person for two years on mere suspicion.

The Peoples Democratic Party on Thursday defended the use of this ‘extra-judicial law’, the one they were critical of during their time in the Opposition. “We are not backing away from our claims of ‘battle of ideas’, but Alam did not deserve anything but PSA,” PDP spokesperson Waheed Parra told The Hindu. “We have to see that nothing derails the tourism industry.”

Alam was arrested on April 17 for participating in a pro-Independence rally where pro-Pakistan slogans and flags were raised and booked under Sections 147 (rioting), 341 (wrongful restraint), 336 (endangering life), 427 (damage to property), 120(B) (criminal conspiracy), 121 (sedition), 124 (A) (waging war against state) and under 13 Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. His bail plea bail came before the Chief Judicial Magistrate Budgam on Wednesday who reserved the decision for Saturday.

According to Budgam District Magistrate Mir Altaf, “The PSA was prepared on Tuesday but implemented on Wednesday.”

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