M. M Khajooria Thirty years ago terrorists brutality claimed lives of ,” four civilian” I repeat civilian officers of the Indian Air Force awaiting transport at Rawalpora, Srinagar in the outskirts of Srinagar city. For around ten years I campaigned for justice for the fallen officers and their families utilizing all avenues- print and electronic media, seminars, debates et all. I appealed to the “good conscience” of the officials concerned and even evoked the fear of God. But to no effect. At a point of time when frustration stared me in the face on account of failure to make the Criminal Justice System respond in respect of murder case involving JKLF chief Yasin Malik and others the miracle happened. As was my wont I raised the issue during a panel discussion on the Take One Channel and pointedly drew attention of the Chief Justice of the J&K High Court to this delay despite the fact that at the end of every month a list of long- pending cases was examined by the Hon’ble Justices. Even large number of friends are convinced that my plea on the TV channel had provoked the Chief Justice to send for file of the case .I make no such claim. But whatever the provocation my prayers were answered and efforts fructified. This has cleared decks for seriously resuming the trial of JKLF chief Yasin Malik pending with the Jammu and Kashmir High Court in two nearly 30- year-old cases, the other being that of Rubaiya Sayeed kidnapping. A FIR was registered against Yasin Malik of JKLF and five others. On the completion of investigation, a charge sheet was filed on August 31, 990 before the designated TADA Court at Jammu. Yasin Malik, the self confessed terrorist has successfully evaded the trial through exploitation of loopholes in the criminal justice system and disgraceful collusive prosecution. For around thirty long years, the families of victims have been looking skywards praying for divine intervention because the rulers in Delhi and Srinagar irrespective of party affiliations have shamelessly colluded in the sordid drama. Surprisingly and contrary to Service culture and tradition, the Air Force hierarchy appeared to have failed their murdered colleagues and the bereaved families. So much for the daily noisily shouted “zero tolerance for terrorism” and concern for the morale of our officers. In a significant, judgment Justice Sanjay Kumar Gupta vacated the order by a single bench of the High Court which had stayed trial against Malik in 1995. He also observed that the October 25, 2008 order of special TADA court of Jammu allowing Malik’s petition for shifting trial to Srinagar was not correct. “…from bare perusal of contents of petitions and relief sought therein, one can definitely come to conclusion that petitioners (Malik) have sought transfer of their cases from designated court Jammu to additional court at Srinagar, which is not permissible under law,” And yes, the law must ultimately prevail in the democratic, secular and socialist republic of India. Malik was lodged in Tihar jail in New Delhi. It may be of interest to recall that two charge sheets were filed by the CBI in August and September 1990 against Malik before the designated TADA court in Jammu. In 1995, he was granted a stay on trial by a single bench of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court as there was no TADA court in Srinagar. In 2008, Malik approached the special court saying that the trial could be shifted to Srinagar as he was facing lot of problems of security in view of the Amarnath row– an agitation which was-mischievously trotted by communal and separatist elements in Kashmir as “having divided people of Kashmir and Jammu on religious lines”. The CBI counsel opposed the transfer of cases to Srinagar. She informed the court that petitions challenging the order of TADA court were filed with the high court but the same could not be heard so far. During the pendency of trial in this case as well, an application was filed by the accused persons seeking transfer of the case to the designated TADA Court at Srinagar. The CBI filed objections and opposed the application, which was rejected by the order dated April 20, 2009. After the routine objections were rejected the CBI (read Government of India) did not bother to approach the division bench against a palpably erroneous judgment with a view to have it turned down. Highlighting the CBI objections this time, the CBI Counsel averred before Justice Gupta that the TADA court in Srinagar had been abolished and the designated court in Jammu was given jurisdiction throughout the state with headquarters at Jammu in May 1990. Rejecting the argument of Malik’s counsel Zaffar Shah as “not tenable”, the court vacated the stay granted by the single bench as also the order of TADA court of 2008. The manner in which the two cases, one of the murder of civilian IAF officers and injuring of 40 others including one woman and abduction of Rubiya Syeed, daughter of the Union Home Minister Mufti Mohd Sayed involving JKLF chief Yasin Malik were prosecuted and generally handled is, to put it mildly a sad commentary on the CBI ( read GOI) tempering with justice delivery system of the country. It may be pertinent to mention here that during his scandalously prolonged bail period in cases of murder and abduction, Malik was not only given freedom to indulge in separatist activities but also allowed and perhaps assisted in his anti-nation project called “Karvan-i-Azadi” during which he claimed to have collected couple of crores of signatures in favor of ‘Independent Kashmir.’ He was even permitted to carry the volumes containing signatures to Pakistan. These were exhibited before Pakistani and international audience. Interestingly, this obvious secessionist move was marketed in the country as establishing rejection of Pakistan by Muslims of Kashmir. That it also expressed preference for secession from India was pushed under the carpet. Malik was permitted to get married in Pakistan to the daughter of prime secessionist leader Aman Ullah Khan. Begum Malik ceremoniously entered India and now enjoys the citizenship of J&K State and hence that of India. During one of “authorized” visits to Pakistan, Yasin Malik shocked the national and international public opinion by sharing the stage with the notorious India hater and internationally branded terrorist, Hafiz Syed. He was emboldened to the extent that he denied his Indian citizenship and even snatched a Relief boat during2015 floods in Srinagar from a Disaster Management Team and went On to distribute the much needed relief on his own behalf. The facade caricatured by the GOI and Yasin Malik, however came un-struck when Pak ISI directed all secessionist leaders -Geelani. Mirwaiz Farooq, Shabir Ahmed Shah and others to come openly on Pro-Pak platform of” Resistance leadership” or face the fate of late Abdul Gani Lone. They dutifully complied. This was to coincide with emergence of Burhan Wani on the terrorist scene. While the state mainstream politicians kept on practicing ‘soft secessionism’ and a policy of permissiveness, the politicians in Delhi remained busy in playing ‘Snakes and ladders’ on the Kashmir chess board with predictable disastrous Consequences. Lately the GOI agencies have woken up. Yasin Malik is facing various charges including ‘Money Laundering’ and confined in Tihar Jail, Delhi. Action has also been initiated against some other secessionist leaders. JKLF has been declared illegal. Security of many secessionist leaders has been withdrawn. Those living luxurious lives at the cost of Indian tax-payer will now have to fend for themselves. Let us hope and pray that the Governments in Delhi and Srinagar will consistently and conscientiously pursue the policy of ‘Zero tolerance’ for terrorism. There will be no compromise on national security on any pretext whether with national or inter national labels.
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