Waging war against the state, sedition, conspiracy: Masarat Alam faces two years without trial

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INDIA-KASHMIR-ELECTION-ALAMSrinagar: Separatist leader Masarat Alam, who was arrested by the police last week, has had the Public Safety Act pressed on him by the Jammu and Kashmir government.

The charges constitute of Section 121A (waging war against the country), section 124 (sedition), section 120B (Criminal Conspiracy), section 147 (rioting) of the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC), and other smaller offences. This isn’t Masarat Alam’s first encounter the PSA. He has been booked under it six times before this one.

On the 15th of April, Alam was involved in a rally that saw the unfurling of Pakistani flags and chanting of slogans.

In response to this, Alam’s lawyers stated that “Alam represented a sentiment and an ideology prevalent in the state.” The defence also recalled a statement declared in 1983 by a state judge where it was held that “unfurling Pakistan flag is not criminal.”

Those booked under the Public Safety Act can face an imprisonment of two years without trial. Alam was arrested on the 18th of April and the judge, having heard from both the defense and prosecution, stayed the order until the 25th of April.

Masarat Alam spoke to Firstpost about the rally, right before he was arrested: “It was a normal rally. This is not the first time that boys were raising pro-Pakistan slogans or had a Pakistani flag in their hands. It has been happening here since decades. I did not raise the flag. If they want to arrest me for that, let them do it.”

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