Friday, June 14, 2024

Former Jamaat-e-Islami leader Zahid Ali re-arrested within weeks after J&K HC declared his detention illegal”

The Jammu and Kashmir Police have re-arrested advocate Zahid Ali, ex-spokesman of the banned socio-religious group, Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI), on May 16, according to a statement from his family. Ali was released on 02 May, after spending 20 months in jail under Public Safety Act (PSA).

Ali was summoned and later arrested at Rainwari Police Station in a case in 2019 (FIR 19/2019)— Central Jail Srinagar Incident.

India banned the influential Muslim outfit in 2019, leading to a crackdown on its leaders and members. Ali was detained several times before he was booked under PSA on 15 September 2022.

In April, the J&K High Court declared his detention “illegal” and ordered compensation of rupees five lakhs.

“The petitioner has been made to suffer loss of his liberty for a cumulative period of more than 1080 days of preventive custody covered under the span of four detention orders in row from 2019 to ending March 2024,” High Court judgement quashing the PSA detention read.

The court held that the SSP Pulwama and the District Magistrate, Pulwama, “in continuing with the preventive detention of the petitioner meant to be law unto themselves having extra constitutional authority at their respective disposal in the matter of targeting the petitioner with repeated preventive detention custody unmindful of fact that each time failing to sustain the said preventive detention custody before the court of law.”

In a statement issued on behalf of Ali by his family, shared with Maktoob, he pointed out that “police has no authority to allow a person out of jail who is involved in any other case and then arrest him on the discreet/whimsical orders and wishes of some higher officer”.

“Although between these five years (from 2019 to 2024), I have been released by the High Court three times, but the police never informed me or my family about my involvement in this particular case, which is totally fake as I had no role at all in the incident. I had not even moved out of my barrack in the jail nor I had any concern regarding that incident,” a statement reads.

“I am totally innocent and have been deliberately implicated in the case simply in order to prolong my detention,” it added.

The rearrest comes as reports from Kashmir suggest that a fraction of the JeI is leaning towards contesting elections in the state assembly, a shift from the group’s earlier position to boycott elections. Recently, ex-senior Jammat leader Ghulam Qadir Wani from Pulwama“offered to participate in the polls if the union government lifts the ban on the organisation.

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