The Jammu and Kashmir High Court ordered the Mehbooba Mufti government to immediately release separatist leader Masarat Alam Bhat from preventive custody.
On Wednesday, the HC gave the order to the state government after quashing the Public Safety Act (PSA) against the separatist leader.
Alam is now in a jail in Kathua near Jammu. He has been in detention for six years for organising 2010 agitation in which 120 people were killed in security forces firing.
Alam is the chairman of the Muslim League, a constituent of the Syed Ali Shah Geelani led Hurriyat Conference. He was the mastermind behind the violent anti-India protest in the valley after the Indian Army killed civilians in an alleged fake shootout near the de facto border with Pakistan.
He was released in April 2015 but was arrested again on April 17, 2015 under the PSA.
He led a rally to receive hardline Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Geelani and allegedly raising pro-Pakistani and pro-Lashkar-e-Toiba slogans. Also, Pakistani flags were allegedly waved in the rally.
The High Court had quashed previous detention of Bhat on 21st August, 2015.
Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar after hearing the arguments from the public prosecutor Asif Maqbool and Counsel for the petitioner Advocate Mian Abdul Qayoom quashed the PSA detention order of Alam.
A person can be arrested for two years by the order of a district magistrate without any judicial intervention under PSA.
Alam has been repeatedly booked under PSA after the court quashed his detention order. A Muslim League spokesperson said it was the 34th PSA against Masarat to be quashed by the court.
The PSA provides for arresting a person without trial for six months on mere suspicion that he/she may be acting “in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order”.
In 1978, the act was first introduced in J&K to prevent timber smuggling but after the militancy outbreak in the State, the J&K government regularly invoked this act to counter the separatist movement and militancy.