Yasin Malik is escorted by Indian police officers at court premises in New Delhi Photograph:( Reuters )
NIA special judge Praveen Singh handed out two imprisonments apart from 10 years of rigorous imprisonment in 10 offences and a Rs 1 million penalty. All the punishments will run concurrently
Jammu and Kashmir’s pro-Pakistan separatist leader Yasin Malik was sentenced to life imprisonment by a special Delhi court on Wednesday.
The Special National Investigation Agency (NIA) judge, Praveen Singh, handed out two imprisonments apart from 10 years of rigorous imprisonment in 10 offences and Rs 1 million penalty (US $12,902 approx.). The judge said that all the punishments will run concurrently.
The life term was awarded for two offences—Section 121 (waging war against the government of India) of IPC and section 17 (raising funds for the terrorist act) of the UAPA.
Malik was convicted last week.
Earlier, Malik, head of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), earlier had earlier pleaded guilty to all the charges including those under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). A special NIA court in Delhi pronounced its verdict on the quantum of punishment in the case.
He told the special court designated for the NIA that he had been following Gandhian principles and non-violent politics in Kashmir after giving up arms in the 1990s.
Mainly Hindu India has been fighting an armed militancy in Kashmir, also claimed by Pakistan, for decades.
"Life imprisonment sentence to the convict, Yasin Malik," Special Judge Parveen Singh said in the court in New Delhi.
Malik`s wife Mushaal Hussein Mullick said the sentencing was illegitimate.
In Kashmir’s main city of Srinagar, police fired tear gas and pellets to disperse stone-pelting protesters outside Malik`s residence.
Clashes erupted between supporters of Malik and security forces in Maisuma locality s as parts of the city observed a spontaneous shutdown ahead of a court's verdict.
Scores of people, including women, assembled at Malik's residence at Maisuma, a short distance from Lal Chowk city centre, and raised slogans in support of the separatist leader, the officials said, adding that the protesters took out a protest march around the area.
The protesters tried to move towards Maisuma Chowk and clashed with security forces, they said.
Some of the protesters pelted stones on the security forces, who fired teargas shells to disperse the crowd, the officials said.
Kashmir's political parties react
Reacting to the conviction, political parties and prominent leaders in Kashmir said that it will further alienate the Kashmiri people.
''Life imprisonment given to Yaseen Malik is unfortunate and a setback to the efforts for peace. We are afraid that this will further compound the uncertainties in the region and will only fuel more alienation and separatist feelings. The NIA court has delivered its verdict but not justice. The triumphalism being displayed by the BJP is bound to prove counterproductive. Meanwhile, we suggest that Yaseen Malik avail all legal opportunities to contest this verdict,'' said spokesperson of People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), Mohamad Yousuf Tarigami.
There are two other cases against Yasin Malik in which the trial is going on. One case pertains to the killing of four Indian Air Force personnel in 1990 in Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) court, which is still at the argument stage. Another case pertains to the kidnapping of Rubiya Syed, daughter of the former home minister and J&K's former CM Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.
Malik has more than 60 FIR's against his name in various cases.
Meanwhile, security has been beefed up across the Kashmir Valley and the mobile internet service has also been snapped in a few areas.
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