Won't Shift Masarat To Kashmir Jail, Mufti Govt Tells High Court

11 June 2015
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Ishfaq Tantry

Srinagar: The J&K Government has refused to consider the High Court order that directed the state government to shift separatist leader Masarat Alam to Srinagar Central Jail. He is currently detained in Kot Bhalwal jail, Jammu. Masarat Alam had recently approached the court seeking directions to the government that he be shifted to the Kashmir jail, citing security reasons in the Jammu jail. The government has said Alam is lodged in a separate cell in high-security Kot Bhalwal jail in Jammu and there is no threat to his life. Alam was arrested on April 17 from his home in the Habbakadal area of Srinagar city amid mounting outrage over his raising of pro-Pakistan slogans and flags at a rally on April 15, which was organised by the separatists to welcome Conference chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani's arrival from Delhi. Alam was later charged with sedition and waging war against the country during Geelani's welcome rally. He was later booked by the J&K Government on April 23 under the Public Safety Act (PSA). 'It has been reported that the detenue has been kept in a separate room under tight security and there is no threat to his life,' said Principal Secretary to the J&K Government, Home Department, in his compliance report to the High Court which was submitted today before the registry, adding that the plea of the petitioner with regard to his shifting 'is found devoid of merits for the aforementioned reasons, in particular, the fragile law and order scenario.' As the compliance report was filed by the government only today, Masarat's lawyer Qayoom submitted during a hearing before the High Court today that 'there is clear design' by the J&K Government to 'prolong Masarat's detention' under the PSA. He contended that as per the Supreme Court orders Masarat has a right to be kept in a jail near to his home while serving detention. The court has now directed the government to file a counter response, if any, by or before the next date of hearing while listing the main petition before a vacation judge.