J&K HC dismisses Masarat’s plea, says he’s not innocent person

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For the first time, the J&K High Court has dismissed a petition of hardline separatist leader Masarat Alam challenging his detention under the Public Safety Act (PSA), observing “he is not an innocent person.” The court also linked his detention with terrorism.

The petition seeking quashing of the detention of Masarat, who is lodged at Kotbalwal Jail, was moved by his uncle before the court.

“A momentary look at the detention record produced by the counsel for respondents pertaining to the order passed by the District Magistrate, Kupwara, unveils that the detainee is an active member of the Hurriyat Conference (G) and is a staunch supporter of secessionist ideology, seeking cessation of the state from the Union of India,” Justice Tashi Rabstan observed while dismissing the petition.

“The detainee is shown to have organised a group in the name of Muslim League… his activities are said to have caused huge ‘loss of life and property’, particularly during 2008, 2010 and 2016,” the court said.

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“It is not once in a blue moon, but it is 50 times that 50 FIRs were registered vis-à-vis loss of life and property, which, therefore, cannot be said as an exception, but indoctrination, abetment and instigation of budding youth to enter an era of uncertainty,” the court said.

In the present case, dismissing the petition filed by his uncle, Justice Tashi Rabstan observed that “our country is victim of an undeclared war by the epicentres of terrorism, radicalism, secessionism and extremism” with resourceful outfits and organisations engaged in such activities “in different states. “These activities are meant to destabilise the nation…This cannot be equated with a usual law and order problem within a state,” the judge said.

In March 2015, the then Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had ordered the release of Masarat Alam. However, the move invited the BJP’s backlash. Under intense pressure, the state government re-arrested him.

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