New Delhi (India): A Delhi court on Wednesday awarded life imprisonment to Yasin Malik, one of the foremost separatist leaders of Jammu and Kashmir, in a terror funding case, saying the crimes were intended to strike at the “heart of the idea of India” and intended to secede J&K from Union of India forcefully.
Special Judge Praveen Singh sentenced Malik to separate jail terms for offences under the stringent anti-terror law- the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and the IPC while rejecting the NIA’s request for capital punishment.
He said the offences for which Malik was convicted were severe.
“These crimes were intended to strike at the heart of the idea of India and intended to secede J&K from UOI forcefully. The crime becomes more serious as it was committed with the assistance of foreign powers and designated terrorists. The seriousness of the crime is further increased by the fact that it was committed behind the smokescreen of an alleged peaceful political movem” not,” the judge said.
The judge observed that how the crime was committed took the form of conspiracy. Government agencies were shut down due to provocation, stone pelting, arson, rioting and violence on a considerable scale.
However, he concluded that due to the mode of commission of the offence and the nature of the weapon used, the offence under trial did not meet the criteria of rarest of rare cases laid down by the Supreme Court. The court sentenced the JKLF leaders to life imprisonment for two offences under IPC section 121 (war with the Government of India) and UAPA section 17 (funds for terrorist acts). During the hearing on one, Malik claimed to have stopped the violence in 1994.
After the ceasefire in the year 1994, he declared that he would follow the peaceful path of Mahatma Gandhi and engage in a non-violent political struggle. He has further contended that since then, there is no evidence against him that in the last 28 years he had provided any hideout to any militant or had provided any logistic support to any terrorist organization,” the court noted from Malik’s submission.
“Government of India had provided him all the platforms to express his opinion in India and outside, and the government cannot be considered a fool to allow a person engaged in terrorist acts. He has further contended that it has been alleged that he was engaged in acts of violence in the valley post the killing of Burhan Wani.
“However, immediately after the death of Burhan Wani, he was arrested and remained in custody till November 2016. Therefore, he could not have engaged in violent protests,” the judge said
The court remained under tight security throughout the day, with police and paramilitary organizations under guard. First, Malik was brought to court, forced to use sniffer dogs by employees of the federal counter-terrorism agency NIA, and conducted a thermal scanning.
After following the verdict, a group of people outside the courthouse hoisted the Indian tricolour flag and raised anti-Malik slogans. A part of Srinagar was cordoned off before the court order. Most of the stores and business facilities in Maisma and surrounding areas, including Lal Chowk, have been closed. Stores also remained closed in some old city areas, but public transport remained normal.