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High Court issues notice to JKLF chief Yasin Malik on death penalty plea filed by NIA

Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Yasin Malik

The Delhi High Court on Monday issued a notice to  Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief Yasin Malik on a National Investigation Agency’s (NIA) appeal seeking death penalty for his involvement in a terror funding case.

NIA argued that it’s a “rarest of rare cases”. The trial court has awarded life imprisonment to Yasin Malik, a separatist leader from J&K, in a terror funding case.

The Division Bench of Siddharth Mridul and Justice Talwant Singh after noting down the submissions, issued notice to Yasin Malik through the Jail superintendent as Yasin Malik is lodged in Tihar Jail. He is the sole respondent in the appeal.

Meanwhile, the bench also issued a production warrant for Yasin Malik to be present before the Court on the next date of hearing on August 9, 2023.

The court also issued notice on the NIA application for condonation of delay in filing the appeal. The court also summoned trial court records in the matter.

During submissions, Solicitor General submitted that he is tactfully pleading guilty.

On that, the Delhi HC bench replied, “As is his Constitutional right…”

Then SG Mehta submitted that, If Osama Bin Laden was before this Court, he would also get the same treatment.

On that High Court said, Bin Laden never faced trial anywhere.

SG said, “Perhaps the USA was right…”

Appearing for NIA, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta also submitted that Yasin Malik is responsible for killing four IAF personnel and kidnapping Rubaiya Sayeed. He also submitted that Four terrorists, who were released after the kidnapping masterminded the 26/11 Bombay attacks.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appeared for NIA and submitted that the accused Malik crossed over to Pakistan in the 1980s to recieve training in handling weapons. ISI helped him to become head of JKLF.

NIA in its appeal submitted that if such dreaded terrorists are not given capital punishment only on the ground that they have pleaded guilty, then the same will result in complete erosion of the sentencing policy of the country and will result in the creation of a device, whereby, such dreaded terrorist after indulging, waging and spearheading an “act of war against the state”, in case caught, would have a way out to avoid capital punishment.

NIA in its appeal stated that the crime committed by such dreaded terrorists, where due to their ‘act of war’, the nation has lost its valuable soldiers and has perpetrated irreparable grief not only to the family members of the soldiers but to the entire nation.

NIA stated that the accused over decades has been indulging and spearheading terrorist activities in the valley and with the help of dreaded foreign terrorist organisations, having interest inimical to India, has been masterminding, planning, engineering and executing armed rebellion in the valley in an attempt to usurp the sovereignty and integrity of a part of India.

NIA in its appeal before Delhi HC further stated that the offences committed by the respondent accused are ex-facie acts of “external aggression”, brazenly planned and executed by “acts of waging war against the nation” whereby “internal disturbance” was created through raising and using trained armed militia within the state and by helping trained terrorist, raised in enemy states, to infiltrate the borders of India to participate and catalyse such internal disturbances.

Earlier on May 25, 2023, the trial court Judge while sentencing life imprisonment to JKLF leader Yasin Malik in a terror funding case said, “In my opinion, there was no reformation of this convict. It may be correct that the convict may have given up the gun in the year 1994, but he had never expressed any regret for the violence he had committed prior to the year 1994.”

It is to be noticed that, when he claimed to have given up the path of violence after the year 1994, the government of India took it at face value and gave him an opportunity to reform and in good faith, tried to engage in a meaningful dialogue with him and as admitted by him, gave him every platform to express his opinion, said NIA Judge Praveen Singh.

The NIA Court further said that the crimes for which the convict has been convicted are of a very serious nature. These crimes were intended to strike at the heart of the idea of India and intended to forcefully succeed J-K from Union Of India (UOI).

“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 smoke screen of an alleged peaceful political movement,” added the trial court.

“The manner of the commission of a crime, and the kind of weaponry used in the crime lead me to the conclusion that the crime in question would fail the test of rarest of rare cases,” NIA Judge Praveen Singh said.
The NIA court while sentencing life imprisonment to Malik also imposed a fine of above Rs 10 lakh. He was sentenced to life imprisonment twice (one for waging war against the nation and one in UAPA sec 17 raising funds for terror act).

NIA had sought the death penalty for the separatist leader who was convicted on May 19
. The court while convicting him had said, “In view of the plea of the guilt, accused Mohd. Yasin
Malik @ Aslam is hereby convicted for the offences punishable u/s 120B IPC, 121 IPC, 121A IPC, 13 UAPA r/w 120B IPC, 15 UAPA r/w 120B IPC, 17 UAPA, 18 UAPA, 20 UAPA, 38 UAPA and 39 UAPA.”

The NIA charge sheet submitted in the case stated that the Central Government received credible information that Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, Amir of Jammat-ud-Dawah and the secessionist and separatist leaders including the members of Hurriyat Conference have been acting in connivance with active militants of proscribed terrorist organizations like HM, LeT etc. for raising, receiving and collecting funds domestically and abroad through various illegal channels including hawala.

The NIA also stated before the court that this has been done for funding separatist and terrorist activities in J-K and as such, they have entered into a larger conspiracy for causing disruption in the valley by way of pelting stones on security forces, systematically burning schools, damage to public property and waging war against India.