J&K Government Opposes Hurriyat Leader Masrat Alam's Shift to the Valley

J&K Government Opposes Hurriyat Leader Masrat Alam's Shift to the Valley

Nearly two months after hardline Hurriyat leader Masarat Alam Bhat was arrested, Jammu and Kashmir government today strongly opposed his shifting from a Jammu jail to the valley.

"There are reasonable apprehensions that shifting of the petitioner (Bhat) to any jail in Kashmir province would have serious adverse impact on the ongoing efforts being made for the improvement in the overall security environment in the State, especially keeping in view the tourist season and upcoming Amarnathji Yatra," the state government said in a compliance report filed by the Home department.

The report said the "plea of the petitioner is found devoid of merits for various reasons, in particular the fragile law and order scenario and hence cannot be acceded to."

The 45-year-old Bhat was arrested on April 17 from his home in Habbakadal area of Srinagar in connection with hoisting of Pakistani flags and raising of pro-Pakistan slogans during a rally organsied here to welcome Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

Bhat, who spearheaded 2010 summer agitation, was released in March after four and a half years detention. Soon after his arrest, he was again booked under Public Safety Act and lodged at Kot Bhalwal jail in Jammu following which he approached the High Court seeking his shifting to Central Jail Srinagar or any of the district jails within Kashmir valley.

On June 2, the High Court had directed the government to consider shifting Bhat to Central Jail here, or any of district jails within Kashmir province by June 11. 

With regard to the contention by the petitioner that there is "danger to his life in Central Jail Kot Bhalwal Jammu", the government said there is "reasonable ground to believe that the said plea is totally false, frivolous and incorrect for the reason that the jail authorities are under legal obligation to ensure safety and security of each and every jail inmate including that of the petitioner".

"The petitioner has been arrested on several occasions and detained, in terms of the provisions of J&K Public Safety Act under due process of law for his involvement in heinous, anti-national, anti-social and violent activities which he has abetted and incited," the government said.

"It has been reported that after the release of the petitioner from District Jail Baramulla recently (after four and a half years of detention), he again indulged in the similar activities, which is evident from the fact that four criminal cases came to be registered against him in various districts of Kashmir valley," the government said.

"As per the reports, the relatives of the petitioner have been visiting him in the jail and the jail authorities have allowed the interview as per the provisions contained in the J&K Jail Manual," it said adding "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."

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