Separatist set free by HC, but J&K will block release

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SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir government on Wednesday decided to slap another preventive detention law on Masarat Alam Bhat, the separatist Islamist leader of Muslim League in Kashmir, after the high court ordered his release on Tuesday.

Alam is considered the mastermind of the 2010 unrest in which over 120 persons were killed and many injured in violent demonstrations across the state, which continued for more than three months. However, he was arrested under the Public Safety Act (PSA) in October 2010.

He was released by the then CM Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on March 7, 2015, after a 53-month-long jail term but was re-arrested on March 17 for waving Pakistani flags and raising anti-India and pro-Pakistan slogans at a welcome reception of Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

Since then, Alam has been in prison under the PSA. He is currently languishing at a district jail in Kathua.On Tuesday, a single bench of Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar quashed his arrest under the PSA and directed the state government to release him.
The court’s verdict was based on the ground that the detention order against Alam had been issued merely on one single allegation against him. However, highly placed sources in the state government said that Alam was not likely to be released. “The government may keep him in preventive custody with fresh charges already registered against him,” official sources said.

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