The court will hear on May 19 the arguments on the quantum of the sentence under which Malik may get a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.
Passing the order, NIA Judge recently said, “The analysis reflects that the statements of witnesses and documentary evidence have connected almost all the accused with each other and to a common object of secession, to the commonality of means they were to use, their close association to terrorist/ terrorist organizations under the guiding hand and funding of Pakistani establishment.”
NIA special Judge Praveen Singh is quoted by ANI as saying, “the analysis reflects that the statements of witnesses and documentary evidence have connected almost all the accused with each other and to a common object of secession, to the commonality of means they were to use, their close association to terrorist/ terrorist organizations under the guiding hand and funding of Pakistani establishment.”
The NIA court on March 16, 2022, had ordered the framing of charges against Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder Hafiz Saeed and Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin, Kashmiri separatist leaders including Yasin Malik, Shabbir Shah, Masarat Alam and others under various sections of UAPA in a case pertaining to the terrorist and secessionist activities that disturbed the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
ANI report said that the court had also ordered the framing of charges against Kashmiri politician and former MLA Rashid Engineer, Businessman Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali, Bitta Karate, Aftab Ahmad Shah, Avatar Ahmad Shah, Naeem Khan, Bashir Ahmed Bhat, alias Peer Saifullah and several others under various sections of IPC and UAPA including criminal conspiracy, waging war against the country, unlawful activities etc.
Meanwhile, the court formally framed the charges against other Kashmiri separatist leaders who are accused in the case. 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 on Tuesday formally sign the court order copy and said they are ready to face trial in the case.
During the course of arguments, the court reportedly noted that none of the accused have argued that individually they do not have a secessionist ideology or agenda or that they have not worked for secession or advocated for the secession of the erstwhile state of J-K from the Union of India. Witnesses after witnesses have deposed that APHC, its factions after division and JRL had only one object and that was the secession of J-K from the Union of India.
Witnesses have connected accused Shabir Shah, Yasin Malik, Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali, Naeem Khan and Bitta Karate to APHC and JRL. Another witness has connected Er. Rashid to Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali who in turn is closely intertwined with APHC and Pakistani establishment/agencies, the court noted.
The court had also clarified that whatever has been expressed in this order is a prima facie opinion although, a detailed discussion of the evidence had to be done because the arguments were advanced by both sides in much detail.
According to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), various terrorist organizations such as Lashkar-e-Toiba(LeT), Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM), Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), Jaish-e- Mohd. (JeM) etc, with the support of ISI of Pakistan, perpetrated violence in the valley by attacking civilians and security forces.
It was further alleged that in the year 1993, the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) was formed to give a political front to secessionist activities.
NIA chargesheet submitted that the Central Government received credible information that Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, Amir of Jammat-ud-Dawah and the secessionist and separatist leaders including the members of Hurriyat Conference have been acting in connivance with active militants of proscribed terrorist organizations like HM, LeT etc for raising, receiving and collecting funds domestically and abroad through various illegal channels including hawala.
NIA also stated before the court that, this has been done for funding separatist and terrorist activities in J-K and as such, they have entered into a larger conspiracy for causing disruption in the Valley by way of pelting stones on security forces, systematically burning of schools, damage to public property and waging war against India.
On this information, the Ministry of Home Affairs directed the NIA to register a case. Accordingly, the present case was registered by NIA for offences u/s 120B, 121, 121A of IPC and sections 13, 16, 17, 18, 20, 38, 39 and 40 of UAPA.NIA further added that during the investigation, it was also revealed that APHC and other secessionists instigate the general public, especially the youth to observe strikes and to resort to violence, especially stone pelting on the security forces.
This was done to create disaffection amongst the people of J-K towards the Government of India. NIA also submitted that the investigation has revealed that the secessionists were mobilizing funds from all possible sources to fuel unrest and support the ongoing secessionist and terrorist activities in Jammu & Kashmir.
The secessionists were getting funds from Pakistan, funds from Pakistan-based terrorist organizations and from local donations, the NIA report added.
(With ANI Inputs)
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