India’s highest anti-terrorism investigation body again demanded – yesterday, Friday – that the death penalty be imposed against the leader of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front seeking independence, Muhammad Yasin Malik (57 years), after he was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Yassin Malik had confessed to what the court described at the time as “financing terrorism”, and refused to defend himself in the accusations against him, and also refused to accept a government-appointed lawyer to defend him.
The court rejected a petition by the National Investigation Agency for the death penalty, saying that the capital punishment is given for crimes that “shock the collective consciousness” of society, it said.
According to a senior security official in India-administered Kashmir, the National Investigation Agency on Friday submitted a petition to the New Delhi High Court in a new bid for Malik’s death sentence.
The legal news website Bar and Bench reported that the petition is scheduled to be heard on Monday.
The Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, headed by Malik, led an armed revolution in 1989 in the Indian part of Kashmir with the aim of achieving independence from both India and Pakistan, which have run the two parts of the region since the independence of the Indian subcontinent from British colonialism, and the announcement of the decision to divide it between India and Pakistan in 1947.
India responded by launching a massive military campaign that killed tens of thousands of civilians and LTTE militants.
Malik announced his renunciation of violence in 1994 and the pursuit of independence by peaceful means, as he met over the subsequent years with many Indian leaders.
Malik also spent 14 years behind bars, and was arrested for the last time in 2018, months before New Delhi revoked the semi-autonomous rule of the troubled region, on which it imposed a complete closure and a communications ban that lasted for several months.
Tensions have escalated in the Muslim-majority region since then, with many accusing Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi of seeking to change the demographic balance there.