Separatist leader Masarat Alam Bhat on Thursday denied waving a Pakistani flag at a rally organised to welcome his senior Syed Ali Shah Geelani here, but said it was a representation of the feelings, aspirations and sentiments of the people across Kashmir.
A day after being slapped with Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for anti-national activities, the hardline Hurriyat leader came out with clarification saying he did not wave the Pakistani flag and should not be held responsible for that.
“There was a welcome programme for Geelani. Some youth had (Pakistani) flags there. Why should I be held responsible for it?” Bhat, who was released last month after being detained under Public Safety Act for more than four years, said.
“This is a general trend in the state and not one man’s doing. To hold one person responsible for it, I do not think is the right thing,” he said.
Asked about the FIR against him in connection with Wednesday’s rally, he said it was nothing new for him.
Law will take its own course: CM
Meanwhile, reacting to demands for the arrest of Alam over pro-Pakistan slogans and flags being waved at the Srinagar rally, chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed said the law will take its own course.
“The law will take its own course,” Sayeed said while talking to reporters in Anantnag. “If anybody has done something wrong he will be duly punished,” he added.
Reports said the ministry of home affairs has asked the Sayeed government to take strictest possible steps against those involved in anti-national activities during the rally.
Alam, whose arrest last month sparked a controversy with the two alliance partners, the BJP and PDP, talking on different lines, was caught on camera raising anti-India slogans to greet separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani on his return from Delhi.
The Jammu and Kashmir government has registered an FIR against Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Masrat Alam and two more leaders of the hardline hurriyat under the unlawful activities prevention Act.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, IG Kashmir, Javeed Geelani said that case is being investigated and `Alam has not been arrested so far”.
Alam is the chairman of Muslim League, a constituent of hardline Hurriyat Conference led by Geelani, and was charged with inciting people during 2010 in which more than 117 young men were killed most during action by security forces.
BJP demands immediate arrest
The BJP in Jammu and Kashmir demanded the immediate arrest of Alam and Geelani over the raising of anti-India slogans at the Srinagar rally.
“We have conveyed to our coalition partner especially to the chief minister who holds the home ministry that we are not satisfied with mere registration of the FIR against Masarat Alam and Syed Ali Shah Geelani for their anti-national activities, we want their immediate arrest,” J-K BJP chief spokesperson Sunil Sethi said.
He said the party was of the opinion that activities of Masarat Alam pose a threat to the national security.
“As long as this man is out of jail, he continues to be a threat to national security. BJP is of the view that this man should be behind bars,” he said.