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Terror funding case: NIA court awards life imprisonment to Kashmiri separatist leader Yasin Malik


Yasin_Malik_PTI_Final

NIA court in Delhi on Wednesday awarded life imprisonment to Kashmiri separatist leader Yasin Malik in a terror funding case.

Malik had earlier pleaded guilty to all the charges, including those under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), in the particular case, court sources said.

The agency told Special Judge Praveen Singh in in-chamber proceedings that Malik was responsible for the Kashmiri exodus.

On the point of sentence, sources said that Malik submitted that he would not "beg" for mercy, and that court could decide at its discretion.

The amicus curiae appointed by the court to assist Malik, sought minimum punishment, i.e., life imprisonment in the matter.

Malik, meanwhile, said that if Indian Intelligence can prove that he had been involved in any terrorist activity or violence in 28 years, then he would retire from politics, and will also accept the hanging.

The judge, however, said that since he has already been convicted, there was no point in arguing on the facts of the case and that he was already given the opportunity.

After hearing the arguments, the court reserved its order and is likely to pronounce it later in the day.

The court had on May 19 convicted Malik and had directed the NIA authorities to assess his financial situation to determine the amount of fine likely to be imposed.

Malik had on May 10 told the court that he was not contesting the charges levelled against him that included sections 16 (terrorist act), 17 (raising funds for the terrorist act), 18 (conspiracy to commit terrorist act), and 20 (being member of terrorist gang or organisation) of the UAPA and sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 124-A (sedition) of the IPC.

The court had, meanwhile, formally framed the charges against Kashmiri separatist leaders including Farooq Ahmed Dar alias Bitta Karate, Shabbir Shah, Masarat Alam, Md Yusuf Shah, Aftab Ahmad Shah, Altaf Ahmad Shah, Nayeem Khan, Md Akbar Khanday, Raja Mehrajuddin Kalwal, Bashir Ahmad Bhat, Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali, Shabir Ahmad Shah, Abdul Rashid Sheikh, and Naval Kishore Kapoor.

The charge sheet was also filed against Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder Hafiz Saeed and Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin, who have been declared proclaimed offenders (PO) in the case.

Meanwhile, parts of Srinagar observed a spontaneous shutdown on Wednesday ahead of a court's verdict on the quantum of the sentence for Malik.

Most of the shops and business establishments in Maisuma and adjoining areas, including some shops in Lal Chowk, were shut, they said.

Shops in some areas of the old city here were also shut, however, public transport was plying normally, they added.

Security forces have been deployed in strength in the city to avoid any law and order problems, they said.

Malik, the chief of banned JKLF, was on May 19 convicted by a Delhi court under the stringent anti-terror law in a case related to funding of terror activities in Jammu and Kashmir, after he pleaded guilty to all charges framed against him.

Special Judge Praveen Singh had then posted the matter for May 25 to announce the quantum of punishment and also directed the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to assess Malik's financial condition to determine the amount of fine that could be imposed.

(With PTI Inputs)

(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)