Hardline separatist leader Masarat Alam Bhat, whose release by the new Peoples Democratic Party-Bharatiya Janata Party government in Jammu and Kashmir had triggered a huge controversy, has again been booked under the stringent Public Safety Act and quickly moved out of the Valley to a jail in Jammu.
The fresh detention under PSA against Bhat was condemned by the hardline Hurriyat Conference which called for a strike on Saturday. The PSA allows detention of a person for a minimum of six months without trial.
Bhat, who was released last month after spending over four years in jail under PSA, had been arrested on April 17 on charges of waging war against the country and sedition after he hoisted Pakistani flag and chanted anti-national slogans during a rally organised for hardline Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani.
“He (Bhat) has been booked under PSA and shifted to Kotbalwal jail,” District Magistrate Budgam Altaf Ahmad Mir said.
The 45-year-old hardline leader had been remanded to a seven-day police custody after his arrest.
Police on Thursday said he has been sent to Kotbalwal jail in Jammu after being shifted from Srinagar during the night.
Bhat had applied for bail before Chief Judicial Magistrate Budgam which heard the arguments of the prosecution and the petitioner’s counsel on Wednesday. The court has reserved its orders on the bail plea till Saturday.
Police had registered a case against Bhat, Geelani and several other separatist leaders under Sections 121-A (waging war against the country), 124 (sedition), 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 147 (rioting) of Ranbir Penal Code among others. Bhat is the only one to have been arrested so far in the matter.
Geelani while calling for a strike on Saturday against the government decision said there is no moral and legal justification in slapping the PSA on the separatist leader.
Geelani asked the people to hold peaceful protest demonstrations after Friday prayers and observe a shutdown on Saturday against Alam’s detention.
The Hurriyat hawk said Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had backtracked on his promises made in the election manifesto. “Before and even after the election drama, Sayeed used to make tall claims and tried to portray himself as a pro-Kashmir politician. However, his slogans like ‘battle of Ideas’ and ‘dialogue, not bullets’ have proved a farce and he has surrendered before Delhi. He has backtracked on the promises made in his election manifesto on the issues of release of political prisoners, AFSPA, return of power projects, settlement of west Pakistan refugees and return of Kashmiri Pandits,” he said.
National Conference leader and former chief minister Omar Abdullah, meanwhile, said that the PDP-BJP coalition government has been a change for the worse.
“This @jkpdp and @BJP4India Govt after the Modi/Mufti accord is a change alright but a change for the worse, no doubt about it,” Omar wrote on Twitter.