• Sunday, October 01, 2023


Separatist leader Yasin Malik virtually appears in Delhi court

By: Pramod Thomas

SEPARATIST leader Yasin Malik on Wednesday (9) virtually appeared before the Delhi high court from jail in connection with the National Investigation Agency’s plea seeking death penalty for him in a terror funding case.

Last week, the high court had directed that the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chief, who is presently serving a life term in the case, be produced before it through video conferencing mode from Tihar Jail instead of physical appearance.

On May 29, the high court had issued notice to Malik on NIA’s plea seeking death penalty for him.

Subsequently, the jail authorities had filed an application seeking permission for his virtual appearance on grounds that he was a “very high risk prisoner” and it was imperative to not physically produce him in court to maintain public order and safety.

Recently, he arrived in the supreme court in connection with a kidnapping case against him, prompting the Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta to flag the “serious security lapse” to home secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla.

He was brought to the high-security apex court premises on July 21 in a prison van escorted by armed security personnel without the court’s permission.

Later that week, the department of Delhi prisons suspended four officials over Malik’s physical appearance before the top court while ordering an inquiry into the lapse.

Last year, a trial court had awarded life imprisonment to Malik after holding him guilty for various offences under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

Malik had pleaded guilty to the charges, including those under the UAPA, and he was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Appealing against the sentence, the NIA has emphasised that a terrorist cannot be awarded life sentence only because he has pleaded guilty and chosen not to go through trial.

While seeking enhancement of the sentence to death penalty, the NIA has said if such dreaded terrorists are not given capital punishment on account of pleading guilty, there would be complete erosion of the sentencing policy and terrorists would have a way out to avoid capital punishment.

The NIA has emphasised that it has been proved beyond reasonable doubt that Malik spearheaded terrorist activities in the Valley and with the help of dreaded foreign terrorist organisations.

“Not giving capital punishment to such dreaded terrorist will result in miscarriage of justice, as, an act of terrorism is not a crime against society but it’s a crime against the entire nation; in other words it’s an act of ‘external aggression’, ‘an act of war’ and an ‘affront to the sovereignty of nation’,” the plea has said.

The trial court, which had rejected the NIA’s plea for capital punishment, had said the crimes committed by Malik struck at the “heart of the idea of India” and were intended to forcefully secede Jammu and Kashmir from Union of India.



Related Stories