Lift restrictions on Geelani: HC

Srinagar, Oct 9: In a major embarrassment to the government, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court today rejected its defense of Syed Ali Geelani’s house arrest, describing as illegal the relentless re...

Srinagar, Oct 9: In a major embarrassment to the government, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court today rejected its defense of Syed Ali Geelani's house arrest, describing as illegal the relentless restrictions on the veteran pro-freedom leader. It directed the government to lift the restrictions on him and not to interfere with his movement.
The High Court passed the orders on two petitions filed by senior counsel and president of High Court Bar Association, Mian Abdul Qayoom, even though the government sought to defend the house arrest saying it was for Geelani's safety.
In his argument, Qayoom said the government had no right to keep anyone under house arrest. He informed the court that Geelani's one kidney had been removed and he was already on pacemaker.
Describing Jammu and Kashmir as a police state, he said Geelani's entire family had been placed under house arrest. Seeking permission for Geelani to visit SKIMS for treatment, he alleged that by denying him medicines, the government wanted to kill the aged leader.
The government counsel, Shabir Ahmad Vakil, defended the house arrest saying the government was safeguarding Geelani against possible attack. But Qayoom rebutted him saying Geelani didn't need any state security.
The Chief Justice Barin Ghosh observed that the state government didn't challenge the Court direction when it had quashed Geelani's detention under the PSA.
Now, the Court said, it was strange why the government had placed him under house arrest. The Chief Justice said the government had no right to make a jail out of a house. The Court said Geelani had the right to movement. "If Geelani says he is a citizen of Pakistan then send him to Pakistan. But the state considers him a citizen of India then it has to respect every law and regulation enacted by the government of India," the Court said.
The Court issued notice to the chief secretary, the DGP, and the SSPs of Budgam and  Srinagar, directing them to file objections by October 19. The final hearing of the case has been fixed on October 23. However, the Court directed the government to remove the restrictions imposed on Geelani.

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