A special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court has sentenced the chief of now banned Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Yasin Malik to life imprisonment in a case related to the “funding for militant activities.”
Malik, 56 year old and done of the Kashmir’s prominent rebel leaders, last week was convicted of several charges including “illegally raising funds”, ‘membership in a banned organisation”, “criminal conspiracy”, and “sedition”.
Malik was arrested by the NIA shortly after the JKLF was banned by India in 2019.
The People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), a coalition of pro-India parties in the Valley, termed Yasin Malik’s life imprisonment as “unfortunate.”
The “… court has delivered its verdict but not justice,” the group said.
Kashmir’s All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Thursday condemned the Court verdict and said, “Yasin Malik since 1994 pursued peaceful and democratic means of conflict resolution. A strong votary of dialogue and negotiations between the concerned parties to the Kashmir conflict i.e people of J&K, India and Pakistan, he has been relentlessly and selflessly seeking its resolution.”
They said that the incarcerated leader was being punished for his political beliefs.
A report by IANS quoted the lawyer who attended the court proceeding saying, in the courtroom, “Yasin said that if I have been involved in any terrorist activity or violence in 28 years, and if Indian Intelligence proves this, then I will also retire from politics. I will accept the hanging.”
On the demand by NIA for the death penalty to the Hurriyat leader, he said, “I will not beg for anything. The case is before this court and I left on the court to decide it.”
Reports have quoted Malik telling the court, “If seeking aazadi [freedom] is a crime, then I am ready to accept this crime and its consequences.”
In several areas of the Valley including main city Srinagar and Malik’s home town Maisuma, shopkeepers downed their shutters before the pronouncement of the sentencing against Malik.
The mobile internet services in some parts of Srinagar were suspended soon after the verdict was announced.
Dozens of women protested at Malik’s home in Maisuma despite the heavy deployment of police and army personnel.