SRINAGAR: India’s top anti-terrorism investigation agency on Friday again sought the death sentence for Yasin Malik, chief of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), after he was given life in prison, official sources said.

The JKLF leader had pleaded guilty last year to funding the separatist movement after refusing to accept a government-appointed lawyer or to defend himself against the charges.

The court turned down a plea by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for a death sentence, saying capital punishment was for a crime that “shocks the collective consciousness” of society.

The NIA petitioned the High Court again on Friday seeking death sentence for Malik, a senior official in Srinagar said. The petition is due for hearing on Monday.

JKLF spearheaded armed resistance in India-held Kashmir in 1989. India responded with a military campaign, leaving tens of thousands of civilians and troops dead.

Malik gave up armed resistance in 1994 to campaign peacefully for independence, meeting Indian leaders over the following years.

He was jailed, spending 14 years in prison where he said he was tortured. He was finally arrested in 2018, months before New Delhi cancelled the held state’s special status on Aug 5, 2019.

Published in Dawn, May 27th, 2023

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