Quantum Of Sentence In ‘Terror’ Funding Case To Be Announced On May 25
New Delhi- Chief of banned JKLF Yasin Malik was on Thursday convicted by a Delhi court under the stringent anti-terror law in a case related to funding of militant activities in Jammu and Kashmir, after he pleaded guilty to all charges framed against him, news reports said.
Special Judge Praveen Singh posted the matter for May 25 to announce the quantum of punishment and also directed the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to assess Malik’s financial condition to determine the amount of fine that could be imposed.
After the charges were framed in March, Malik on May 10 informed the court that he would not be contesting the charges levelled against him, including section 16 (terrorist act), 17 (raising funds for the terrorist act), 18 (conspiracy to commit terrorist act), and 20 (being a member of terrorist gang or organisation) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 124-A (sedition) of the IPC.
Malik faces the maximum punishment of a death penalty, while the minimum sentence for the offences committed by him is life imprisonment.
The Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) is a banned organisation under the UAPA.
The case pertains to the conspiracy by Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chief Hafiz Saeed and separatist leaders, including members of the Hurriyat Conference, who had acted in connivance with active members of banned Hizbul Mujahideen, Dukhtaran-e-Millat and others to raise, receive and collect funds domestically and from abroad through various illegal channels, including hawala.
The funds were for the purpose of separatist and militant activities in Jammu and Kashmir to cause disruption in the Valley by way of pelting stones on security forces, systematically burning schools, damaging public property, and waging war against India.
According to the NIA, the investigation established that Malik was the head of the JKLF, and was involved in militant activities in the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state.
In 2016, he, along with other Hurriyat leaders, formed a self-styled group called ‘Joint Resistance Leadership’, whereby they started issuing directions to the masses to hold protests, demonstrations, hartaals, shutdowns, road-blocks and such other disruptive activities which would push the entire society into chaos and lawlessness, the NIA said.
He was also involved in raising funds from LOC traders and various entities based abroad, and distributing those funds among militants and stone-pelters for funding stone-pelting and demonstrations, the agency said.
The NIA, which had registered a suo moto case on May 30, 2017, filed a charge sheet on January 18, 2018 against over a dozen people.
The court had earlier also formally framed charges against Kashmiri separatist leaders, including Farooq Ahmed Dar, alias Bitta Karate, Shabbir Ahmad Shah, Masarat Alam, Aftab Ahmad Shah, Altaf Ahmad Shah, Nayeem Khan, Md Akbar Khanday, Raja Merajuddin Kalwal, Bashir Ahmad Bhat, Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali, Sheikh Abdul Rashid and Naval Kishore Kapoor.
The charge sheet also named the Lashkar chief and Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin, who have been declared proclaimed offenders in the case.
Except for Watali, all others are in judicial custody. A prominent businessman, Watali has been shifted to a home which has been declared a jail. This relaxation was made as he was suffering from a deadly disease.
Malik is also facing other cases, including two in the CBI that pertains to the gunning down of IAF personnel in 1990 and the kidnapping of Rubaiya Sayeed, daughter of the then Home Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed in 1989.
The trial against the remaining accused persons in the case shall continue as they have pleaded not guilty before the court.
Convictions Won’t Solve Kashmir Issue, Says PDP
Reacting to the conviction of JKLF leader, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said on Thursday the conviction of Mohammad Yasin Malik is a part of the legal process and will not lead to the resolution of the Kashmir issue which is a political problem that cannot be solved by convictions.
“While the development is the part of legal process, we must not lose sight of the fact that it can’t and won’t solve the political problem called the Kashmir issue,” a spokesperson of the PDP said while reacting to Malik’s conviction.
The spokesperson said there have been convictions and people hanged out of turn but that did not lead to the resolution of the Kashmir issue.
“Will this conviction lead to resolution of the Kashmir issue? he asked.
It also depends on who is facing justice. We have seen different parameters being used. Those who killed the father of this nation are worshipped. Just yesterday someone who killed a (former) PM was released, he said.
The spokesperson was referring to the Supreme Court ordering the release of A G Perarivalan, who was in jail for over 30 years after being convicted in the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991, invoking its extraordinary powers under Article 142 of the Constitution to do “complete justice” in a pending case.
Mosques are being bulldozed and minorities lynched. We hope justice is delivered on equal parameters, he said.
Pak Summons Indian Charge d’Affaires
Meanwhile Pakistan summoned India’s Charge d’Affaires here to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and handed over a demarche to him conveying Islamabad’s strong condemnation of the framing of what it called were fabricated charges against Yasin Malik.
The Pakistan Foreign Office, in a late-night statement on Wednesday, said that Kashmiri Hurriyat leader Malik is currently imprisoned in Delhi’s Tihar jail.
The Indian diplomat was conveyed of Pakistan’s grave concern that in a bid to suppress the voice of the indigenous Kashmiri leadership, the Indian government has resorted to implicating them in fictitious and motivated cases, it said.
The Indian side was also conveyed Pakistan’s deep concern over Malik’s incarceration in Tihar Jail since 2019 under inhuman conditions , it said.
Pakistan calls upon the Government of India for acquittal of Malik from all baseless charges and immediate release from prison so that he can be reunited with his family, recuperate his health and return to normal life, the Foreign Office said.
Malik recently pleaded guilty to all the charges, including those under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), before a Delhi court in a case related to alleged terrorism and secessionist activities that disturbed the Kashmir Valley in 2017.
India has repeatedly told Pakistan that Jammu and Kashmir was, is and shall forever remain an integral part of the country. It also advised Pakistan to accept the reality and stop all anti-India propaganda.
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