The Jammu Kashmir High Court has again quashed the detention of separatist leader Masarat Alam. The court has ordered release of Alam, who is in jail since April 2015, “if not required” in any other case.
Alam, who was booked under 37th Public Safety Act (PSA) in November, last year, was under detention in Jammu jail.
Saying that it should be ensured that the grounds of detention are not vague, Justice Rashid Ali Dar quashed Alam’s detention. “The order of detention impugned does not sustain on the above referred grounds alone, therefore, other grounds projected in the petition are not required to be dealt with,” Justice Dar said.
Alam’s release, however, is unlikely.
The separatist leader, who is part of Syed Ali Geelani-led Hurriyat Conference, has spent most part of his life in jail since 2008. In the last 25 years, he has been booked 37 times under the Public Safety Act – a law that allows government to detain any person, without trial, for a period of up to six months.
Alam, who spearheaded the 2010 street protests in the Valley and was subsequently arrested in October 2010, was released for a month in March 2015 immediately after the then Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed took over as chief minister. Mufti, however, had to surrender to BJP pressure and Alam was re-arrested under the PSA within a month.
A close aide of Geelani, Alam first came to spotlight in 2007 when he managed a massive rally for Geelani in old Srinagar city. After Geelani’s rally in 2007, Alam was immediately arrested under PSA. He was released in 2008 just before the Amarnath land row erupted. As the valley besieged by protestors Alam was again arrested under PSA for “instigating” the protestors.
Alam was released by the Omar Abdullah government in 2010 just before the killing of teenager Tufail Mattoo, which triggered massive street protests and five-month long shutdown in Kashmir. Alam went underground and emerged as the architect of 2010 street protests in which 120 youth were killed in firing by police and paramilitary forces. After his arrest in 2010, Alam spent another five years in jail – during this time multiple PSAs were slapped against him. He was released in March 2015 only to be re-arrested a month later. Since April 2015, Alam has been in detention.