Tuesday 24 May 2022
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Yasin Malik, made aware of consequences, pleads guilty of terror-funding

Amicus curiae Akhand Pratap Singh made JKLF terrorist aware of what would follow if he confessed, but Yasin Malik decided not to contest UAPA and other charges against him

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Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Mohammad Yasin Malik is reportedly not in the mood to fight his legal fate with false claims. He has “made up his mind not to contest the charges against him, and says he is ready to face whatever is next”, he told the amicus curiae, advocate Akhand Pratap Singh.

An amicus curiae is an individual or organisation that is not a party to the dispute and is yet permitted to assist the court by offering information, expertise, or insight that has a bearing on the issues in the case.

Accused of terror-funding in a 2017 case that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) probed, Yasin Malik pleaded guilty to all charges framed against him before a Delhi court two days ago. The NIA has charged him under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for committing a terrorist act, raising funds for terrorism, being a member of a terrorist group and part of a criminal conspiracy, and for sedition.

Singh, who met Malik inside Delhi’s Tihar jail twice, said that he had tried to convince the JKLF leader to go to trial but the latter refused. “I was appointed as the amicus by the court to make Malik understand the consequence of him pleading guilty and to guide him. I met him on two occasions inside the jail and also made him understand in detail, but he has made up his mind,” Singh said.

“He does not want to contest the charges. He said he was clear that he wanted to plead guilty and does not want to face the trial,” the amicus curiae said.

Explaining why Yasin Malik had decided to plead guilty, Singh said, “He said he is ready to face whatever is in store for him. He also said a lot of other things, which I cannot divulge. However, he is sure he does not want to face the trial.”

As the court hearing proceeded on 10 May, Yasin Malik was the only accused in the case who pleaded guilty to charges framed against him while the others pleaded not guilty. The JKLF terrorist chose not to have a lawyer represent him in this case, and was appearing for himself.

Special Judge Praveen Singh will pronounce the judgement in Malik’s case on 19 May, and also hear arguments regarding the quantum of for offences to which Malik has pleaded guilty.

JKLF & Yasin Malik

JKLF is a terrorist separatist organisation active in both Jammu & Kashmir and PoK. It was founded by Amanullah Khan, with Maqbool Bhat also credited as a co-founder. Originally a militant wing of the Azad Kashmir Plebiscite Front, the organisation officially changed its name to the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front in Birmingham, England on 29 May 1977; from then until 1994 it was an active Kashmiri militant organisation.

JKLF first established branches in several and towns of the United Kingdom and other countries in Europe, as well as in the United States and across the Middle East. In 1982, it established a branch in the Pakistani-administered territory of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and by 1987, it had established a branch in the Indian-administered Kashmir Valley.

Yasin Malik is the chairman of JKLF, which originally spearheaded terrorism in Kashmir and was a mastermind behind the genocide of Pandits, the Hindu natives of the valley, in the hands of local Muslims. Malik ostensibly renounced violence in 1994 and adopted ‘peaceful’ methods to come to a settlement on the Kashmir conflict, while remaining sympathetic to Muslim terrorists operating in the region, which ceased to be a state when Article 370 was virtually abrogated.

After receiving training in terrorism in camps based in PoK following his release from jail, Yasin Malik returned to the valley in 1989 as a core member of JKLF, declaring that independence for the entirety of the British-era princely state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Along with Hamid Sheikh, Ashfaq Wani and Javed Ahmad Mir, Yasin Malik formed the core group, dubbed the “HAJY” group, of the JKLF terrorists returning with arms and training received in PoK. They were said to have been “stunned” by the enthusiastic response to their call for independence in the Kashmir valley. They waged a guerrilla war with the Indian security forces, kidnapping Rubiya Sayeed, the daughter of the then-Home Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and of who went on to be chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, and targeting attacks on the government and security officials.

In March 1990, the security forces killed Ashfaq Wani was killed in an encounter. In August 1990, they arrested Yasin Malik in a wounded condition.

Yasin Malik was imprisoned until May 1994. Hamid Sheikh was captured in 1992 too but released by the Border Security Force to counteract the pro-Pakistan guerrillas.

By 1992 — by when the exodus of Pandits from the valley was near complete — the majority of the JKLF militants had been killed or captured and they were yielding ground to pro-Pakistan guerilla groups such as the Hizb ul Mujahideen, strongly promoted by the Pakistani military authorities.

Further encroachment by pan-Islamist fighters infiltrating into the Vmvalley from Pakistan changed the colour of the insurgency. Eventually, Pakistan ceased its financial support to the JKLF because the JKLF did not support Kashmir’s integration with Pakistan.

After release from prison on bail in May 1994, Yasin Malik declared an indefinite ceasefire of the JKLF. However, he says that JKLF still lost a hundred militants to Indian operations. Independent journalists mentioned three hundred activists were killed. They were said to have been compromised by Hizb ul Mujahideen members, who informed their whereabouts to the Indian security forces.

Malik purportedly renounced violence and adopted a Gandhian non-violent struggle for independence. He expressed a desire for a “democratic approach” involving the “true representatives” of Jammu and Kashmir. He offered political negotiations but insisted that they must be tripartite with both Indian and Pakistani governments, and should cover the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir. This was not acceptable to India.

In the spring of 1995, Malik protested the holding of legislative assembly elections and threatened self-immolation. He contended that the Indian government had “thrust this election process” on the Kashmiris just as a display of democracy.

Yasin Malik’s ‘peaceful’ struggle was unacceptable to the leadership of JKLF in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. At the end of 1995, Amanullah Khan, the founder chairman of JKLF, removed Malik as the president of JKLF. In return, Malik expelled Khan from chairmanship. Thus JKLF had split into two factions. Victoria Schofield in her book Kashmir in Conflict states that the Pakistan government recognised Yasin Malik as the leader of JKLF, which further complicated the situation.

In 2005, a rival faction of Yasin Malik inside JKLF formed a separate organisation “JKLF(R)”. Javed Mir is its convener.

Yasin Malik, 1999-2022

During the tenure of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, Malik was arrested October 1999 and charged under the Public Safety Act (PSA) and was again arrested on 26 March 2002 under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. He was detained for almost a year.

Once the BJP-led NDA government ended in 2004, Malik was invited for one-on-one meetings with the then president and prime minister of Pakistan, then-Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh and other world leaders.

In 2007, Yasin Malik and his party had launched a campaign known as Safar-i-Azadi (Journey of Freedom). His journeys to meet some select world leaders was to create an atmosphere of anti-Indian sentiment among the public; which had lasted for over one year. During this time Yasin Malik and his colleagues visited about 3,500 towns and villages of Kashmir promoting an anti-Indian stance.

In February 2013, Yasin Malik shared the dais with the banned Lashker-e-Taiba chief and terror attack planner Hafiz Muhammad Saeed at a protest in Islamabad, which was condemned by many commentators, including Muslim bodies.

On 4 December 2013, JKLF claimed that Malik was thrown out of a hotel in New Delhi with his wife and 18-month-old daughter due to his political Ideology of separatism. On 12 January 2016, Yasin Malik wrote a letter to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, opposing Gilgit-Baltistan’s merger with Pakistan.

Yasin Malik is facing trial for the kidnapping of Rubaiyya Sayeed and the subsequent exchange of five militants.

Charge and trial for 1990 attack

In March 2020, Yasin Malik and six accomplices were charged under the UAPA, the Arms Act 1959 and Ranbir Penal Code for the attack on 40 Indian Air Force personnel in Rawalpora, Srinagar on 25 January 1990. During the attack four IAF personnel died. The trial is underway.

On 10 May 2022, Malik pleaded guilty for being involved in terrorist activity in Kashmir.

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