Separatist leader and Hurriyat hardliner Masarat Alam has been arrested for raising pro-Pakistani slogans and waving Pakistani flag in Srinagar. Despite the arrest, Alam remained defiant and said that the scheduled rally in Tral against the death of a youth in an encounter with Army will continue as planned.
Masarat Alam has been booked under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act after he waved the Pakistan flags to greet Geelani at a rally in Srinagar During the rally, Alam, released from jail in March, had praised founder of Lashker-e-Taiba terror outfit Hafeez Mohammed Sayeed and asked people to join hands with his outfit. Separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani though remains under house arrest. Both the Hurriyat hardliners were slated to hold a rally in Tral.
The action to arrest Masarat comes after the Bharatiya Janata Party, an ally in the Jammu and Kashmir government, threatened to skip the next Cabinet meeting if Masarat was not arrested. The police has taken him to Shaheedgunj police station in Srinagar with reports suggesting that he will be imprisoned after being produced before a magistrate.The arrest comes a day after Alam and Geelani were placed under house arrest to prevent them from leading the rally in Tral.
Earlier Alam said that the J&K government doesn’t want the rally to be successful and that is why such an action has been taken. The separatist leader opined that the administration should follow the Hurriyat program. “Let the government do whatever it wants to, the people are being stopped for attending that rally, but they will attend,” Alam said. Reacting to Alam’s arrest, BJP leader Siddharth Anand Singh justified J&K government’s move and said that nobody can raise pro-Pakistan slogans or waive Pakistan flags. He further said that the government will continue to function keeping the national interest at the forefront.
Union Minister Jitendra Singh and BJP leader said the action has been taken in accordance with the law. Alam has been arrested to uphold national interest and there will be no compromise on this front, Singh asserted.
CM Mufti Mohammad Sayeed said that waving of Pakistani flags and raising pro-Pak slogans were “not acceptable” and “will not be tolerated”. The remarks came after the CM came under attack from all quarters including ally BJP for allowing hardline Hurriyat leader Geelani to hold a rally in Srinagar on Wednesday where pro-Pakistan slogans were shouted and Pakistani flags waved. In view of the development, Sayeed had asked police to deny permission for Friday’s rally which was scheduled to be taken from Srinagar to Tral where a youth was killed allegedly by the Army while in their custody. The police is also likely to enforce prohibitory orders under Section 144 to restrict movement of people.