NEW DELHI: Amid unending assault on Kashmiri parties and resistance groups that began with the dismantling of the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir in August 2019, a special court on Thursday convicted JKLF leader Yasin Malik in a terror funding case. The sentence is expected to be handed next week.

Reports said Special Judge Praveen Singh direc­ted the National Investiga­tion Agency (NIA) to assess Mr Malik’s financial situation to determine the amount of fine to be imposed and posted the matter for arguments on the quantum of sentence on May 25.

Reports quoted Mr Malik as telling the court that he was not contesting the charges levelled against him that included Sections 16 (Terrorist Act), 17 (raising funds for terrorist act), 18 (conspiracy to commit terrorist act) and 20 (being member of terrorist gang or organisation) of the UAPA and Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 124-A (sedition) of the Indian Penal Code.

The court had earlier also formally framed the charges against Kashmiri separatist leaders, including Farooq Ahmed Dar alias Bitta Karate, Shabbir Shah, Masarat Alam, Yusuf Shah, Aftab Ahmad Shah, Altaf Ahmad Shah, Nayeem Khan, Akbar Khanday, Raja Mehrajuddin Kalwal, Bashir Ahmad Bhat, Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali, Shabir Ahmad Shah, Abdul Rashid Sheikh and Naval Kishore Kapoor.

The charge sheet was also filed against Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed and Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin, who have been declared proclaimed offenders in the case.

Meanwhile, the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) in a statement on Wednesday said that through use of extreme force and intimidation, the state authorities are implementing a complete ban on any form of individual or collective expression by people or their leadership in India-held Kashmir.

It said: “While the leadership is jailed, confined and incarcerated, which includes APHC chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq detained arbitrarily for the last almost three years now, since August 2019, repression on one side and disempowerment and marginalisation of people of J&K on other, simultaneously continue unabated.”

The Hurriyat slammed the recent delimitation of the state’s electoral constituencies, saying the move was part of a plan to change its demography.

“The recent brazen recommendations of the government’s delimitation commission is another step towards implementing demographic change by way of reducing Muslim representation in the conflict ridden state and gradually changing its Muslim majority character,” the statement said. “While vengeful termination from service of Muslim employees in government service, the main source of employment for locals, goes on, arrests of youth or any ‘so-called anti-national Kashmiri’ now even including women, happens on a daily basis.”

Paying tributes to Kashmiri leaders who it said were martyred by security forces, the Hurriyat called for a strike on May 21 to mark the martyrdom of Mirwaiz Molvi Mohammad Farooq and former Hurriyat president Abdul Ghani Lone.

“We believe that their path of seeking peaceful resolution of the Kashmir conflict in keeping with the wishes of its people, while considering the interests of both India and Pakistan as parties to the conflict, is the way out of this, and the way forward. It is also the way to peace and prosperity for the region. Hegemonic authority, use of force or intimidation of people, only complicate the conflict further.”

Published in Dawn, May 20th, 2022

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