New Delhi: A special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in Delhi on Wednesday sentenced Kashmiri separatist leader Yasin Malik to life imprisonment in a J&K terror funding case. The NIA had sought the death penalty for the convicted chief of the proscribed Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF). Rejecting the NIA’s plea for capital punishment, special judge Praveen Singh awarded varying jail terms to Malik for offences under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and the IPC. Meanwhile, in Maisuma locality (a short distance from Malik’s residence) in Srinagar, clashes erupted between the supporters of the JKLF chairman and security forces.
Malik was convicted last week by a Delhi court after he pleaded guilty to charges related to terror funding, spreading terrorism and secessionist activities in Kashmir in 2017.
The NIA had charged the JKLF chief of orchestrating violent protests during 2016, in which 89 cases of stone-pelting were reported.
The agency told the court that Malik’s home was raided and they found a copy of a Hizb-ul-Mujahideen letterhead. The agency said that the letterhead, signed by various terror organisations, warned people who supported football tournaments in the Valley to disengage themselves from the organisers of the game and show their loyalty to the “freedom struggle”.
The investigation agency made the submission before the special NIA court amid high security and sought capital punishment for Malik. While the amicus curiae appointed by the court to assist Malik argued for life imprisonment — the minimum punishment in the matter.
The special court, in addition to awarding life imprisonment to the Kashmiri separatist leader, awarded varying jail terms for various offences. The court also imposed a fine of over Rs 10 lakh on Malik.
The life term was awarded for two offences — Section 121 (waging war against the government of India) of the IPC and section 17 (raising funds for the terrorist act) of the UAPA. All the sentences will run concurrently.
Earlier on May 10, Malik had pleaded guilty to all charges, including those under the stringent UAPA. He told the court that he was not contesting the charges levelled against him that included sections 16 (terrorist act), 17 (raising funds for terrorist acts), 18 (conspiracy to commit terrorist act) and 20 (being a member of a terrorist gang or organisation) of the UAPA and sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 124-A (sedition) of the IPC.
The separatist leader said that he would not “beg” for mercy and that the court could decide at its discretion.