Will Muhammed Yasin Malik meet the same fate as Afzal Guru who was hanged for his role in parliament attack in New Delhi? The Indian Government set in motion a 30-year-old case against Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Yasin Malik which accuses him of killing four Indian Air force officials.
Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief Malik is currently lodged in Delhi’s Tihar Jail after being arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in a case related to the financing of terror and separatist organisations.
There are two cases against Yasin Malik. The two cases relate to the killing of four Indian Air Force officers on January 25, 1990, on the outskirts of Srinagar city and the kidnapping of then Union Home Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed’s daughter in 1989.
Two chargesheets were filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation in August and September 1990 against Malik before the designated TADA court in Jammu. Malik was granted a stay on trial by a single bench of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court in 1995 as there was no TADA court in Srinagar.
In 2008, Malik approached the special court saying the trial could be shifted to Srinagar as he was facing a lot of security problems in view of the Amarnath Yatra row — an agitation which had divided people of Kashmir and Jammu on religious lines over the issue of leasing land to outsiders during the annual pilgrimage.
The first case relates to an incident that occurred on January 25, 1990, at Rawalpora, Srinagar. The Air Force employees were fired upon by terrorists in which 40 of them, including a woman, received serious injuries and four IAF personnel were killed. On completion of the investigation, a charge sheet was filed on August 31, 1990, against Malik and five others before the designated TADA court in Jammu.
The second case relates to the kidnapping of Dr Rubaiya Sayeed who was abducted by some gun-wielding terrorists travelling in the same minibus in which she was going to her house at Nowgam. She was taken to some unknown place, where her captors threatened to kill her in case their demands were not met.
Is Yasin Malik Being Singled Out?
Experts suggest that there are many reasons why Yasin Malik could have been singled out by New Delhi. After the formation of the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), experts state that it was predominantly Yasin who called the shots — from formulating protest strategies, announcing programmes and carrying out other resistance activities; all this in the face of a brutal NIA crackdown and the arrest of many leaders.
Yasin Malik kept fighting and putting on a brave face, something that the BJP government was in no mood to permit. There are reports in media which suggest that covert messages were sent to him to mellow down and cut down on his activities before the Indian government finally decided to teach him a lesson.
Of the three key players in the Joint Resistance Leadership, Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq being the other two, Yasin Malik was by far the most disruptive and vociferous. New Delhi had shown great hostility to Malik’s fresh, stimulated stance and his tilt toward Pakistan.
The Indian agencies felt he Malik had ditched them after the Indian Government gave him a long rope to grow into an internationally recognised resistance leader, after the JKLF’s indefinite ceasefire which eventually led to an abdication of militancy by Malik and his organization. The consequential decision angered many in the JRL resistance camp in Kashmir and Pakistan, putting Yasin Malik’s reputation and life at stake.
To top it all, a consistent campaign against him, especially by the Kashmiri Pandit (KP) organisations who blame him for masterminding terror campaign in the valley in the 1990s resulting in the exodus of the entire Hindu community from Kashmir. He has also been accused of killing and raping many Kashmiri Pandit women who have been vociferously demanding punishment for his heinous acts.
There is no doubt that Yasin Malik was a hard-core militant before he joined politics. He had crossed over to the Pakistan-controlled Kashmir to receive training at camps and returned to the Kashmir Valley in 1989 to create havoc.
The questions remains – Is Yasin Malik being unfairly targetted now for his anti-India stance or should the militant turned politician be brought to justice for the killing of four Indian Air Force personnel whose families still wait for justice?