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Yasin Malik’s NIA trial, conviction, and its impact on the ground in Kashmir

Malik had renounced violence in 1994, and has since seen as a moderate separatist leader

Sabrangindia 28 May 2022

Yasin malik convictionImage courtesy: ANI Photo/Ayush Sharma

“Why would anyone want to surrender, give up the gun, if this is how they will be treated?” This is one of many questions that are being asked behind closed doors in Kashmir. The people are asking peace activists what the point was in sentencing Muhammad Yasin Malik, now 56 years old, to life imprisonment in decades old cases, when it has not been made public what the nature of the offence was.

Some asked, “Who has he killed?” Many others continue to remind that Malik has not picked up the gun, keeping his promise given to the government of India 28 years ago. Malik had renounced violence in 1994.

According to a report in NDTV, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday urged the court to give the death penalty to Yasin Malik. The lawyer, who attended the court proceeding, said in the courtroom, “Yasin said that if I have been involved in any terrorist activity or violence in 28 years, if Indian Intelligence proves this, then I will also retire from politics. I will accept the hanging. I have worked with seven Prime Ministers.” Malik reportedly added, “I will not beg for anything. The case is before this court and I leave it to the court to decide it.” NIA Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) reportedly also told the court that Yasin Malik “is responsible, in part, for the Kashmiri exodus.” However, the court responded, “Let's not go into all this. Stick to the facts. This is a terror funding case.”

On Wednesday afternoon, according to news reports, soon after news of Yasin Malik getting two life sentences, fines, and additional jail terms spread, hundreds of locals protested on the streets in Maisuma area of Srinagar, where he hails from. The protesters allegedly “threw stones at the police and paramilitary forces” and the police fired tear gas shells to disperse them.  

The J-K Police arrested 10 persons under anti-terror laws, and told the media that more protesters will be identified, and that “some would be booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA) that allows the government to detain a person without trial for up to a year.” The Police tweeted, “Others are being identified and will be arrested soon. Case has been registered under UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act) and IPC (Indian Penal Code). The main instigators of this hooliganism will be booked under PSA.”

 

 

According to the Indian Express, the police arrested the youth during night raids at Maisuma and its surrounding areas. The publication reported that “police sources said the aim was to ensure that people do not take to the streets. The police fear that if protests are allowed at any place, they could spiral into massive protests across the Kashmir Valley.”

It is interesting to note that a peaceful yet vocal protest against the government is still continuing in the Valley, for over two weeks, following the killing of Kashmiri Pandit government employee Rahul Bhat. As SabrangIndia has reported previously, the protesters burnt effigies, and have publicly raised slogans against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership and demanded protection for the community and justice for Rahul Bhat’s family. Since then, Lt Governor Manoj Sinha, as well as senior police and administration officials have met the Bhat family and protesters. Those protests however continue on the streets of the valley, said local sources.

The public protests after Yasin Malik’s sentencing, however, have been seen as “anti-national sloganeering”. ​​The NIA court on Wednesday awarded life imprisonment to Kashmiri separatist leader and Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief Yasin Malik in a terror funding case. Malik did not contest the charges against him.

As reported in the media, Malik has been awarded two life sentences, and multiple imprisonments and fines under various sections, these are: Section 17 of UAPA: Life imprisonment fine ₹10 lakh; Section 121 of IPC: Life imprisonment; Section 18 of UAPA: Imprisonment of 10 years and ₹10,000 fine; Section 20 of UAPA: Imprisonment of 10 years and ₹10,000 fine; Section 38 and 39 of UAPA: Imprisonment of 5 years and ₹5,000 fine; Section 120B of IPC: Imprisonment of 10 years and ₹10,000 fine; and Section 121A of IPC: Imprisonment of 10 years and ₹10,000 fine. Special judge Praveen Singh who pronounced the order said that the sentence will run concurrently, stated news reports.

Advocate Akhand Pratap Singh (court-appointed amicus) had sought minimum punishment (life imprisonment), reported NDTV. Malik was reportedly convicted for being part of a conspiracy between Kashmiri separatists, the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba and its leader Hafiz Saeed and for raising and accepting funds for carrying out terrorist activities.

This conviction comes 28 years after Malik renounced violence. This itself is a chronicle of the militancy in Kashmir, which is allegedly supported by Pakistan. The “Kashmir issue” has been invoked by political parties, especially by the right-wing that claims to “be solving it”, and Malik is the poster boy of “punishment given” even though he was among the most prominent names to give up arms, after he had picked up the gun more than 30 years ago.

 

 

Years ago, Malik told BBC, “There are cases against me pending in court, but now 11 years have passed and the Government of India has not even started the trials.” Yasin as the leader of the Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front, has been held responsible for crimes the outfit has been accused of, said a local. Media reports say these cases include that of the 1989 abduction of Rubaiya Sayeed, daughter of the then Union Home Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, and the killing of four Indian Air Force personnel in Srinagar in 1990. Malik was arrested in 2019, JKLF was banned that year after the Pulwama CRPF bus bombing. Charges were framed in both cases, since 2020.

However, as peace activists on the ground stated, it was believed by the authorities that “Malik would be more useful as a free man.” RAW chief A S Dulat, who was then on the Kashmir desk of the IB” oversaw his release a few yers later and wrote in his book Kashmir: The Vajpayee Years published in 2015, about meeting Malik who told him at their first meeting that there was nothing to talk about except “azaadi”. Malik was by then “a self-proclaimed believer” in Gandhian ways.  

Cardiac surgeon Dr Upendra Kaul, who had treated Malik at AIIMS, reportedly said it was Dulat who “had approached him with a request that he examine Malik as the Government of India was planning to release him.” The Indian Express quoted Dr Kaul recalling that Malik “had a leaking heart valve. It needed treatment, and he was operated upon.” The doctor said Malik “was a good and obedient patient. We never discussed politics. He had his convictions. What was the point?” According to the report, Malik stayed in touch with the doctor off and on and that according to Dulat, “Malik was “great friends” with A K Doval, who is now India’s National Security Adviser, and J&K cadre IAS officer Wajahat Habibullah.”

In his youth, Malik, had a cult following in the Valley, but then he gave up the gun, and was seen as a moderate separatist leader. It was this image and popularity among the youth that the Union government perhaps planned to use, to bring more former militants, and separatists into the mainstream.

Malik boycotted elections, and reportedly “told people the government would use the turnout to tell the world that Kashmir had returned to normal.” Malik was arrested in 1999 under Public Safety Act (PSA) and released in 2002, reported the Kashmir Observer.

Malik has over the years maintained Kashmiris’ “self determination” as the main issue in the India-Pakistan peace process. This was to mean Kashmir, India and Pakistan as participants in the peace talks, and Malik launched the “Safar-e-Azadi” movement.

According to peace activists, while separatists did not take part in the Kashmir Round Table Conference, they were a part of “back-channel talks” with the authorities. Malik has reportedly met seven Prime Ministers, including Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh. However, the current government, say activists, had put most Kashmiri activists, politicians, separatists, lawyers etc in jail in 2019. “The same government is talking to the Naga seperatist leaders, why are Kashmiris being treated differently,” asked an activist.

Malik had told the BBC, “When people look at Yasin Malik, they have to look at three Yasin Maliks — one from ’84 to ’88 [student activist], second from ’88 till 1994 [militant], and third from ’94 till onward [Gandhian].”

Things changed drastically in the Valley after the 2016, killing of Hizb commander Burhan Wani that year. Wani in death, was ‘reborn’ as a cult figure of sorts. Unlike Malik who had renounced guns and violence, Wani became “the face of Kashmir’s militancy”. In spite of that the fact that Malik’s life sentence has once again evoked so much emotion in the Valley is telling. Are people seeing it as some kind of a betrayal of the man who had returned to the path of peace talks? Did the Indian State also change its position? These are some of the questions also being asked in low tones in the Valley, “the state through its actions is showing its intentions for Kashmir. The people are disappointed.” Peace activists now have an uphill task of building the people's trust in the system.

Malik’s sentencing has been closely watched in Pakistan as well. Shehbaz Sharif, Prime Minister of Pakistan called it “a black day for Indian democracy & its justice system”.

 

 

BilawalBhuttoZardari, chairman PPP called it a “fallacious conviction” on “fabricated charges”.

 

 

Malik’s wife, Mushaal Hussein Mullick has been spearheading the campaign for his release since he was last arrested.

 

 

 

Related:

Kashmiri TV artiste Amreen Bhat killed in cold blood

Jammu & Kashmir: A grieving widow’s angry words, make admin act

Striving for peace in strife-torn Kashmir

Protests continue over Kashmiri Pandit’s

 

Yasin Malik’s NIA trial, conviction, and its impact on the ground in Kashmir

Malik had renounced violence in 1994, and has since seen as a moderate separatist leader

Yasin malik convictionImage courtesy: ANI Photo/Ayush Sharma

“Why would anyone want to surrender, give up the gun, if this is how they will be treated?” This is one of many questions that are being asked behind closed doors in Kashmir. The people are asking peace activists what the point was in sentencing Muhammad Yasin Malik, now 56 years old, to life imprisonment in decades old cases, when it has not been made public what the nature of the offence was.

Some asked, “Who has he killed?” Many others continue to remind that Malik has not picked up the gun, keeping his promise given to the government of India 28 years ago. Malik had renounced violence in 1994.

According to a report in NDTV, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday urged the court to give the death penalty to Yasin Malik. The lawyer, who attended the court proceeding, said in the courtroom, “Yasin said that if I have been involved in any terrorist activity or violence in 28 years, if Indian Intelligence proves this, then I will also retire from politics. I will accept the hanging. I have worked with seven Prime Ministers.” Malik reportedly added, “I will not beg for anything. The case is before this court and I leave it to the court to decide it.” NIA Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) reportedly also told the court that Yasin Malik “is responsible, in part, for the Kashmiri exodus.” However, the court responded, “Let's not go into all this. Stick to the facts. This is a terror funding case.”

On Wednesday afternoon, according to news reports, soon after news of Yasin Malik getting two life sentences, fines, and additional jail terms spread, hundreds of locals protested on the streets in Maisuma area of Srinagar, where he hails from. The protesters allegedly “threw stones at the police and paramilitary forces” and the police fired tear gas shells to disperse them.  

The J-K Police arrested 10 persons under anti-terror laws, and told the media that more protesters will be identified, and that “some would be booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA) that allows the government to detain a person without trial for up to a year.” The Police tweeted, “Others are being identified and will be arrested soon. Case has been registered under UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act) and IPC (Indian Penal Code). The main instigators of this hooliganism will be booked under PSA.”

 

 

According to the Indian Express, the police arrested the youth during night raids at Maisuma and its surrounding areas. The publication reported that “police sources said the aim was to ensure that people do not take to the streets. The police fear that if protests are allowed at any place, they could spiral into massive protests across the Kashmir Valley.”

It is interesting to note that a peaceful yet vocal protest against the government is still continuing in the Valley, for over two weeks, following the killing of Kashmiri Pandit government employee Rahul Bhat. As SabrangIndia has reported previously, the protesters burnt effigies, and have publicly raised slogans against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership and demanded protection for the community and justice for Rahul Bhat’s family. Since then, Lt Governor Manoj Sinha, as well as senior police and administration officials have met the Bhat family and protesters. Those protests however continue on the streets of the valley, said local sources.

The public protests after Yasin Malik’s sentencing, however, have been seen as “anti-national sloganeering”. ​​The NIA court on Wednesday awarded life imprisonment to Kashmiri separatist leader and Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief Yasin Malik in a terror funding case. Malik did not contest the charges against him.

As reported in the media, Malik has been awarded two life sentences, and multiple imprisonments and fines under various sections, these are: Section 17 of UAPA: Life imprisonment fine ₹10 lakh; Section 121 of IPC: Life imprisonment; Section 18 of UAPA: Imprisonment of 10 years and ₹10,000 fine; Section 20 of UAPA: Imprisonment of 10 years and ₹10,000 fine; Section 38 and 39 of UAPA: Imprisonment of 5 years and ₹5,000 fine; Section 120B of IPC: Imprisonment of 10 years and ₹10,000 fine; and Section 121A of IPC: Imprisonment of 10 years and ₹10,000 fine. Special judge Praveen Singh who pronounced the order said that the sentence will run concurrently, stated news reports.

Advocate Akhand Pratap Singh (court-appointed amicus) had sought minimum punishment (life imprisonment), reported NDTV. Malik was reportedly convicted for being part of a conspiracy between Kashmiri separatists, the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba and its leader Hafiz Saeed and for raising and accepting funds for carrying out terrorist activities.

This conviction comes 28 years after Malik renounced violence. This itself is a chronicle of the militancy in Kashmir, which is allegedly supported by Pakistan. The “Kashmir issue” has been invoked by political parties, especially by the right-wing that claims to “be solving it”, and Malik is the poster boy of “punishment given” even though he was among the most prominent names to give up arms, after he had picked up the gun more than 30 years ago.

 

 

Years ago, Malik told BBC, “There are cases against me pending in court, but now 11 years have passed and the Government of India has not even started the trials.” Yasin as the leader of the Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front, has been held responsible for crimes the outfit has been accused of, said a local. Media reports say these cases include that of the 1989 abduction of Rubaiya Sayeed, daughter of the then Union Home Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, and the killing of four Indian Air Force personnel in Srinagar in 1990. Malik was arrested in 2019, JKLF was banned that year after the Pulwama CRPF bus bombing. Charges were framed in both cases, since 2020.

However, as peace activists on the ground stated, it was believed by the authorities that “Malik would be more useful as a free man.” RAW chief A S Dulat, who was then on the Kashmir desk of the IB” oversaw his release a few yers later and wrote in his book Kashmir: The Vajpayee Years published in 2015, about meeting Malik who told him at their first meeting that there was nothing to talk about except “azaadi”. Malik was by then “a self-proclaimed believer” in Gandhian ways.  

Cardiac surgeon Dr Upendra Kaul, who had treated Malik at AIIMS, reportedly said it was Dulat who “had approached him with a request that he examine Malik as the Government of India was planning to release him.” The Indian Express quoted Dr Kaul recalling that Malik “had a leaking heart valve. It needed treatment, and he was operated upon.” The doctor said Malik “was a good and obedient patient. We never discussed politics. He had his convictions. What was the point?” According to the report, Malik stayed in touch with the doctor off and on and that according to Dulat, “Malik was “great friends” with A K Doval, who is now India’s National Security Adviser, and J&K cadre IAS officer Wajahat Habibullah.”

In his youth, Malik, had a cult following in the Valley, but then he gave up the gun, and was seen as a moderate separatist leader. It was this image and popularity among the youth that the Union government perhaps planned to use, to bring more former militants, and separatists into the mainstream.

Malik boycotted elections, and reportedly “told people the government would use the turnout to tell the world that Kashmir had returned to normal.” Malik was arrested in 1999 under Public Safety Act (PSA) and released in 2002, reported the Kashmir Observer.

Malik has over the years maintained Kashmiris’ “self determination” as the main issue in the India-Pakistan peace process. This was to mean Kashmir, India and Pakistan as participants in the peace talks, and Malik launched the “Safar-e-Azadi” movement.

According to peace activists, while separatists did not take part in the Kashmir Round Table Conference, they were a part of “back-channel talks” with the authorities. Malik has reportedly met seven Prime Ministers, including Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh. However, the current government, say activists, had put most Kashmiri activists, politicians, separatists, lawyers etc in jail in 2019. “The same government is talking to the Naga seperatist leaders, why are Kashmiris being treated differently,” asked an activist.

Malik had told the BBC, “When people look at Yasin Malik, they have to look at three Yasin Maliks — one from ’84 to ’88 [student activist], second from ’88 till 1994 [militant], and third from ’94 till onward [Gandhian].”

Things changed drastically in the Valley after the 2016, killing of Hizb commander Burhan Wani that year. Wani in death, was ‘reborn’ as a cult figure of sorts. Unlike Malik who had renounced guns and violence, Wani became “the face of Kashmir’s militancy”. In spite of that the fact that Malik’s life sentence has once again evoked so much emotion in the Valley is telling. Are people seeing it as some kind of a betrayal of the man who had returned to the path of peace talks? Did the Indian State also change its position? These are some of the questions also being asked in low tones in the Valley, “the state through its actions is showing its intentions for Kashmir. The people are disappointed.” Peace activists now have an uphill task of building the people's trust in the system.

Malik’s sentencing has been closely watched in Pakistan as well. Shehbaz Sharif, Prime Minister of Pakistan called it “a black day for Indian democracy & its justice system”.

 

 

BilawalBhuttoZardari, chairman PPP called it a “fallacious conviction” on “fabricated charges”.

 

 

Malik’s wife, Mushaal Hussein Mullick has been spearheading the campaign for his release since he was last arrested.

 

 

 

Related:

Kashmiri TV artiste Amreen Bhat killed in cold blood

Jammu & Kashmir: A grieving widow’s angry words, make admin act

Striving for peace in strife-torn Kashmir

Protests continue over Kashmiri Pandit’s

 

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