New Delhi: Separatist leader Mohammad Yasin Malik on Tuesday pleaded guilty to all the charges, including those under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), before a Delhi court in a case related to alleged terrorism and secessionist activities that disturbed the Kashmir valley in 2017, court sources said.
They said Malik told the court that he was not contesting the charges levelled against him including section 16 (terrorist act), 17 (raising funds for the 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.
Special Judge Praveen Singh, who had earlier held that it was “prima facie” established that Malik and others were the direct recipients of terror funds, will hear on May 19 the arguments regarding the quantum of sentence for the offences levelled against the accused in which the maximum punishment is life imprisonment.
The court had also said Malik had set up an elaborate structure and mechanism across the world to raise funds for carrying out terrorist and other unlawful activities in Jammu and Kashmir in the name of the “freedom struggle”.
The court, meanwhile, formally framed the charges against Kashmiri separatist leaders including Farooq Ahmed Dar alias Bitta Karate, Shabbir Shah, Masarat Alam, Md Yusuf Shah, Aftab Ahmad Shah, Altaf Ahmad Shah, Nayeem Khan, Md 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 (LeT) founder Hafiz Saeed and Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin, who have been declared proclaimed offenders (PO) in the case.
The judge had earlier said that “so far from the statements of witnesses, a pattern is emerging — Pakistan or its agencies and accused share a common goal and there is an agreement on the means to be used for achieving that goal and for the terror funding is also being provided from Pakistan”.
While ordering to frame charges in the case in March this year, the court had said in the conspiracy, “the baton was held by conductors sitting across the border in the form of Pakistani agencies such as ISI and each of the conspirators, knowing every other conspirator, was playing his role as per the directions of the conductor in order to create a symphony of bloodshed, violence, mayhem, and destruction with the ultimate object of secession of J&K.” It said the money for terror funding was sent from and by Pakistan and its agencies and even the diplomatic mission was used to fulfil the evil design. Money for terror funding was also sent by proclaimed international terrorists and accused Hafiz Saeed.
It said a criminal conspiracy was hatched with a final object of secession of Jammu & Kashmir from the Union of India and within that conspiracy, a conspiracy was hatched to commit certain acts to achieve the object of the original conspiracy, and those acts, as discussed above, have been found to be terrorist acts.
The court also noted that prima facie there existed a criminal conspiracy pursuant to which large-scale protests, resulting in violence and arson at a massive scale, were orchestrated. It said that accused Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali was one of the main conduits for the flow of this terror funding and accused Naval Kishore Kapoor had played an active part in facilitating it.
According to the NIA various terrorist organizations such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM), Jammu, and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), etc., with the support of ISI of Pakistan, perpetrated violence in the valley by attacking civilians and security forces.
It was further alleged that in 1993, the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) was formed to give a political front to secessionist activities.
The NIA charge sheet submitted before the court that the central government received credible information that Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, Amir of Jammat-ud-Dawah, and the secessionist and separatist leaders including the members of the Hurriyat Conference have been acting in connivance with active militants of proscribed terrorist organizations like HM, LeT, etc. for raising, receiving and collecting funds domestically and abroad through various illegal channels including hawala.
The NIA also alleged that this was done for funding separatist and terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir and as such, they have entered into a larger conspiracy for causing disruption in the valley by way of pelting stones on security forces, systematically burning schools, damage to public property and waging war against India.