The NIA court here on Thursday convicted Kashmiri separatist leader Yasin Malik in a terror funding case in which he pleaded guilty. Now, the NIA authorities will have to assess his financial situation and arguments on the quantum of the sentence, which will be heard on May 25.
Notably, Yasin had withdrawn his lawyer. As he pleaded guilty earlier, nothing was left to be heard during the course of the hearing. The area was cordoned off by security and the media persons were asked to wait outside the court during the hearing. Yasin Malik has been charged with hatching a criminal conspiracy, waging war against the country, other unlawful activities, and disturbing peace in Kashmir.
He had pleaded guilty in the matter. On the last date of the hearing, he told the court that he was not contesting the charges leveled against him, including sections 16 (terrorist act), 17 (raising funds for the terrorist act), 18 (conspiracy to commit terrorist act), and 20 (being member of a terrorist gang or organization) of the UAPA and sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 124-A (sedition) of the Indian Penal Code. Special Judge Praveen Singh had then fixed the matter for May 19 to hear the arguments regarding the quantum of sentence for the offenses leveled against Malik in which the maximum punishment is life imprisonment.
Kashmiri separatist leaders, including Yasin Malik, Shabbir Shah, Masarat Alam, former MLA Rashid Engineer, businessman Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali, Bitta Karate, Aftab Ahmad Shah, Avatar Ahmad Shah, Naeem Khan, Bashir Ahmed Bhat, alias Peer Saifullah and several others have also been framed under the charges for criminal conspiracy, waging war against the country and other unlawful activities.
In the order dated March 16, the NIA special Judge Praveen Singh had said: "The above analysis reflects that the statements of witnesses and documentary evidence have connected almost all the accused with each other and to a common object of secession, to the commonality of means they were to use, their close association to terrorist/terrorist organizations under the guiding hand and funding of Pakistani establishment."
Notably, the court has discharged three, namely Kamran Yusuf, Javed Ahmad Bhatt, and Syedah Aasiya Firdous Andrabi. The case is related to the various terrorist outfits Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Hizbul-Mujahideen (HM), Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) backed by Islamic State perpetrating the terrorist and secessionist activities to disturb Jammu and Kashmir.