The Jammu and Kashmir government in its report to the Union Home Ministry has described Masarat Alam as a “separatist” who was “instrumental in provoking the Kashmiri youth into street protests and stone pelting in a big way in 2010,” but justified the Hurriyat hardliner’s release saying there was no fresh grounds for his continued detention under the Public Safety Act.
Not satisfied with the response, the ministry has now asked the state government to send a report explaining the “circumstances under which, it suddenly came to a conclusion that Alam was no longer a threat to national security and under what compelling conditions he was immediately released?”
A report sent by J&K Additional Secretary said: “Alam has been booked eight times under Section 8 of the PSA, 1978, since February 2010. As per Section 18(1) (b), a person whose activities are prejudicial to the security of the state can be detained for six months in the first instance which may be extended up to two years. Further, the High Court has laid down that a person cannot be detained twice on same grounds. For fresh detention, there needs to be fresh grounds. Alam has been detained eight times since 2010 and there are no fresh grounds for booking him under the PSA. He has been booked under the PSA intermittently since 4.3.10, as there are no fresh grounds for his continued detention, he has been released.”
The latest case against Alam under the PSA was registered on September 9, 2014 in Jammu. An analysis of the PSA cases show that the first case was registered against him on February 2, 2010, and five more cases were registered against him till October 30, 2012. Between October 2012 and January 2014, not a single PSA case was invoked against Alam, but even then he was under detention.
Any case registered under PSA goes to an advisory Board headed by a retired high court judge.
“We are curious to know, what suddenly changed in the past six months that he is no longer a threat to the public safety. We have asked them to give a copy of the High Court order, which they have mentioned in their report,” said a senior MHA official.