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Rubaiya identifies Yasin Malik as kidnapper, JKLF chief to go on hunger strike if not allowed to physically appear in court

Rubaiya Sayeed, former Jammu, and Kashmir chief minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed’s daughter appeared before a special CBI court on Friday in a case related to her 1989 kidnapping and identified JKLF chief Yasin Malik and three others as the ones who took her captive, officials said.

This is the first time Rubaiya has been asked to appear in the case. She had been freed after five militants were released in exchange. Rubaiya, who stays in Tamil Nadu, is listed as a prosecution witness by the CBI, which took over investigations into the case in early 1990.

Rubaiya identified Malik, who was present in the court through video conferencing. ” “This is the person and his name is Yasin Malik. He was the man who threatened me that he will drag me out of the minibus if I refused to follow their diktat,” Rubaiya told the judge.

She later identified him again through the pictures that were exhibited in the court.

The case had gone into virtual cold storage and was revived after Malik was picked up by the National Investigation Agency in 2019 on charges of militant funding.

In January last year, the CBI framed charges against 10 people, including Malik, in the Rubaiya kidnapping case that turned out to be a turning point in the Valley’s history. The release of the five JKLF members was seen as a morale booster for the pro-independence militant group, which sought separation from both India and Pakistan.

During the hearing, Rubaiya recorded her statement before the special judge, and during the course, she identified Malik, who was recently sentenced to life imprisonment in a militant funding case, and three others as her kidnappers.

Ahead of Rubaiya’s statement, Malik had appeared in the same case on July 13 during which he asked the court for ensuring his physical appearance so that he could cross question the witnesses in the case or else he would sit on an indefinite hunger strike in prison.

Malik told the court that he was awaiting a response from the government till July 22 failing which he would start his indefinite hunger strike.

The JKLF chief is at present lodged in the high-security Tihar Jail in Delhi after he was sentenced by a special NIA court in Delhi in May.

Rubaiya was kidnapped near Lal Ded Hospital on December 8, 1989, and freed from captivity five days later on December 13 after the then V P Singh government, supported by the BJP, released the five militants in exchange.

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