SRINAGAR: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday approached the Delhi High Court seeking death penalty for separatist leader and chief of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Yasin Malik, who was awarded life term by a trial court in a militant funding case, The Hindustan Times reported.
A bench of justices Siddharth Mridul and Talwant Singh will hear the matter on May 29.
On May 24, 2022, a trial court awarded life imprisonment to Malik after holding him guilty of various offences under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and the Indian Penal Code.
He was convicted after pleading guilty to charges related to militant funding, spreading militancy and secessionist activities in Kashmir in 2017.
Even though Malik was convicted for waging war against the State, the court at the time of his conviction noted that this case does not fall under the category of “rarest of rare crime”, warranting death penalty.
The court had also said that the issue of genocide of the Kashmiri Pandits and their exodus is not before this court and hence the court cannot be swayed into that argument.
The life term was awarded for two offences – section 121 (waging war against government of India) of IPC and section 17 (raising funds for militant act) of the UAPA.
Under section 121 (waging war against the State) of the IPC, the minimum punishment is life imprisonment while the maximum is death.
Giving life term to Malik,The Hindustan Times reported that the court had said that no doubt waging war against the state or abetting it, is a serious crime, but the death penalty should be awarded in exceptional cases where the crime by its nature shocks the collective consciousness of the society and has been committed with unmatched cruelty and in a gruesome manner.
The court had also awarded Malik a 10-year jail term each under sections 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 121-A (conspiracy to wage war against the government of India) of IPC and sections 15 (militancy), 18 (conspiracy for militancy) and 20 (being a member of a militant organisation) of UAPA.
It had also awarded five-year jail terms each under sections 13 (unlawful act), 38 (offence related to membership of militancy) and 39 (support given to militancy) of UAPA.
Malik had on May 10 last year told the Delhi court he was not contesting the charges levelled against him that included acts of ‘militancy and sedition’.
The court had 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.
According to the NIA, various militant organisations such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM), JKLF, and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), among others with the support of the ISI of Pakistan, perpetrated violence in the Valley by attacking civilians and security forces, The Hindustan Times reported.
It was further alleged that in 1993, the All Parties Hurriyat Conference was formed to give a political front to secessionist activities.
According to the NIA charge sheet submitted before the court, the central government received credible information that Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, Amir of Jammat-ud-Dawah and the secessionist and separatist leaders, including members of the Hurriyat Conference, have been acting in connivance with active militants of proscribed militant organisations like HM and LeT for raising, receiving and collecting funds domestically and abroad through various illegal channels including hawala.
NIA also alleged that this was done for funding separatist and militant activities in Jammu and Kashmir and as such, they have entered into a larger conspiracy for causing disruption in the Valley by way of pelting stones at security forces, systematically burning schools, damage to public property and waging war against India.