A special “anti-terrorism” court has framed charges against Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chief Mohammd Yasin Malik and nine others in a 31-year-old kidnapping case involving Rubaiya Sayeed.
Malik is presently lodged in Tihar jail, in Indian capital Delhi, after he was arrested by the National Investigation Agency in April 2019 in connection with an insurgent funding case, a month after his group was banned by the Indian government.
In March last year, the special court had framed charges against the JKLF chief and six others in another case related to the gunning down of four Indian Air Force personnel on the outskirts of Srinagar in January 1990.
Special judge Sunit Gupta ordered framing of charges against Malik and nine others – Ali Mohd Mir, Mohd Zaman Mir, Iqbal Ahmad Gandroo, Javed Ahmad Mir, Mohd Rafiq Pahloo, Manzoor Ahmed Sofi, Wajahat Bashir, Mehraj-ud-Din Sheikh and Showkat Ahmad Bakshi.
The 10 are among two dozen accused named by the Central Bureau of Investigation in its charge-sheet filed before the court. Among the others, Mohammad Rafiq Dar and Mushtaq Ahmad Lone – both top commanders of JKLF – are dead and 12 others are absconding.
The absconders also include a woman named Halima.
Rubiya was kidnapped by JKLF members on December 8, 1989, from Srinagar to ensure the release of their associates lodged in different jails.
From the confessional statements of the accused persons recorded, supported with the statements of the abductee Rubiya Sayeed and other prosecution witnesses, it has been prima facie proved that the accused persons have hatched a criminal conspiracy to kidnap the abductee with sole objective to get their persons released from the custody after having negotiation with the Government of J&K as well as Government of India and the accused persons had also succeeded in their designs and got their persons released from the custody.
“I am of the considered view that sufficient grounds are existing for drawing prima facie presumption that the accused persons have committed offences,” the Special Judge said.
The court said, the charges are required to be framed against each of the accused persons, separately, for the delineated offences.
During the investigation, accused Ali Mohammad Mir had voluntarily made the confessional statement whereby, he had admitted his role in the commission of offence as well as disclosed the role played by the other accused persons.
Another accused Mohammad Zaman Mir had in the same manner made confessional statement and had disclosed his own role and the roles of other accused persons in the commission of the offence, the court said.
It said the accused, Iqbal Ahmed Gandroo, had also made confessional statement admitting his guilt and role played by him in the whole occurrence. Besides, the accused persons namely Rafiq Pahloo, Wajahat Bashir, Manzoor Ahmed Sofi and Showkat Ahmed Bakshi had made their confessional statements before SP CBI.”
Confessional statements of insurgents which are mostly made under duress and torture don’t qualify as concrete evidence.
“Since the accused persons besides admitting of their own guilt have also narrated about the participation of other accused persons namely Yaseen Malik, Javed Ahmed Mir and Mehraj-U-Din Sheikh, which can also be used against them as one of the piece of evidence,” the court said.
Malik has been named in confessional statements after the accused were arrested by the Indian military.
It said the investigating agency has also conducted Test Identification Parade of the accused persons, Ali Mohd Mir, Mohd Rafiq Dar and Mohd Iqbal Gandroo, and during that proceedings the abductee had identified them and disclosed about the individual participations of each of the accused persons in the commission of offences.