A National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in Delhi sentenced Kashmiri separatist leader Yasin Malik to life imprisonment after he was convicted in connection with Jammu & Kashmir terror funding case. On May 10, Malik had pleaded guilty to all charges, including those under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
Malik, head of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), was arrested by the NIA in 2019 in connection with an overarching terror-funding case that it had opened in 2017.
In its FIR, the NIA said Kashmiri separatists were receiving funds from Pakistan, including from Hafiz Saeed of the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Syed Salahuddin of the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, to foment trouble in the Valley through stone-pelting, burning down of schools, and organising strikes and protests.
Yasin Malik's History
Malik was born on 3 April 1966 in the densely populated Maisuma locality of Srinagar
In 1980, after witnessing an altercation between the army and taxi drivers, he is said to have become a rebel. He formed a party called the Tala Party, which formed a revolutionary front, printing and distributing political materials and causing disturbances. His group was involved in attempting to disrupt the 1983 cricket match with West Indies in the Sher-i-Kashmir Stadium, disturbing National Conference gatherings in Srinagar and protesting Maqbool Bhat's execution. Malik was arrested and detained for four months.
In the run up to the Legislative Assembly elections in 1987, the Islamic Students League led by Yasin Malik joined the Muslim United Front (MUF). It did not contest any seats because it did not believe in the constitution.
JKLF was founded by Amanullah Khan along with Maqbool Bhat in Birmingham in June 1976 from the erstwhile UK chapter of the ‘Plebiscite Front’. It established its offices in Muzaffarabad in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), and began sabotage activities in Jammu and Kashmir soon afterward and became the top militant group in the Valley. Malik is said to have joined the group in the late eighties after returning from Pakistan with arms training.
The NIA investigation report says: “Yasin Malik has been involved in more than 65 criminal cases. Most of them are of murder, attempt to murder, rioting and sedition. Yasin Malik was involved in abducting of Rubaiya Sayeed, daughter of then Union Home Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed in 1989, and also involved in killing of four Indian Air Force personnel in the early part of 1990s."
In August 1990, Yasin Malik was captured in a wounded condition. He was imprisoned until May 1994. Hamid Sheikh was also captured in 1992 but released by the Border Security Force to counteract the pro-Pakistan guerrillas.
After release from prison on bail in May 1994, Yasin Malik declared an indefinite ceasefire of the JKLF.
In 2009 Yasin Malik married Pakistani artist Mushaal Hussein Mullick. They became parents to a girl named Raziyah Sultana in March 2012.
In March 2020, Yasin Malik and six accomplices were charged under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA), 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.
On 10 May 2022, Malik pled guilty of the charges framed against him. Malik chose not to have a lawyer represent him and was appearing for himself. The court appointed an amicus curiae to explain the charges to Malik and make him understand the consequences. Malik confirmed to the amicus that he did not want to contest the charges and that he was ready to face whatever was in store for him.
The NIA is pursuing a death sentence for the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chief. His defence team seeks to have his sentence commuted to life in prison.