Yasin Malik begins “fast unto death” in Tihar Jail seeking ‘fair trial’

Jailed prominent Kashmiri leader Yasin Malik has begun a hunger strike unto the death in Delhi’s Tihar Jail seeking a fair trial in his case.

The chief of the banned Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), undergoing a life term in a terror-funding case, had moved an application with the union government seeking personal appearance in two cases.

The 56 year old leader is facing trial in cases related to the 1989 abduction of Rubaiya Sayeed, daughter of then Union home minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, and killing of four Indian Air Force (IAF) officials in 1990.

Malik who was convicted by a court of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in terror funding cases and sentenced to life imprisonment in May this year, had written to the government for a physical appearance before the special Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) court.

A meeting of the “supreme council” of the JKLF had termed the non-presentation of Malik in courts as “illegal, inhumane and undemocratic,” said a statement quoting JKLF spokesperson Muhammad Rafiq Dar.

Malik had originally decided to begin the hunger strike from July 12, a day before the last court hearing, which he postponed for 10 days on the request of jail authorities so that they had some time to take up the issue with concerned higher authorities, Dar said in the statement.

Malik’s sister Abida Malik said the family pleaded before Malik not to go on a hunger strike but he did not listen. The family said they had had “no access” to Malik since but believed he might have begun the hunger strike, The Telegraph reports.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday lent his support to the incarcerated separatist leader and criticised India for what he said was “persecution”.

“The continued persecution of Hurriyat leader Yasin Malik by India is part of a plan to deprive Kashmiris of their representative voices. From fabricated cases to sham trial, impunity with which India is violating human rights of political workers should alarm rights defenders,” Sharif tweeted.