After a treacherous wait of more than 30 long years, the wheels of justice have finally come full circle in the case of dreaded Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) terrorist Yasin Malik.
On Saturday, Presiding Officer of TADA court in Jammu finally framed charges against him along with six others for killing four Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel in cold blood on January 25, 1990.
Despite running from pillar to post the family members of the martyred IAF officers failed to get justice.
After hearing senior lawyers, the Presiding Officer TADA Court observed, “CBI appears to have supported their allegations against the accused, both, by the documentary as well as oral evidence”.
The investigating agency had presented the chargesheet in the court of law on 24 November 1990. But his sympathisers, occupying high offices, shielded him and delayed justice.
In 1994, Malik renounced violence and adopted peaceful methods to come to a settlement on the Kashmir conflict
Instead of punishing him, the perpetrator of the heinous crime was hailed as a peace ambassador and accorded red carpet welcome in higher echelons of power even in New Delhi.
In 1995, Yasin Malik 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 again moved a fresh application before the special court demanding the trial should be shifted to Srinagar as he was facing security threats in the wake of Amarnath land row in the Jammu region.
In April 2019, a bench of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court struck down the 2008 single-bench order transferring the hearing in the two cases to Srinagar. In September 2019, Jammu based TADA court went ahead and issued non-bailable warrants against the JKLF Chief and directed the police to produce him before the court. At present, Yasin Malik is 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.
According to the court order, Presiding Officer TADA Court Subash C Gupta Saturday framed charges against Yasin Malik, Ali Mohd Mir, Manzoor Ahmed Sofi alias Mushtafa, Javed Ahmed Mir alias Nalka, Nana Ji alias Saleem, Javed Ahmed Zarger and Shoukat Ahmed Bakshi for the offences under Sections 302, 307 RPC, Section 3 (3) and Section 4(1) of TADA Act, 1987 and Section 7/27 of Arms Act 1959 read with Section 120- B of RPC.
After hearing senior lawyers, the Presiding Officer TADA Court observed, “CBI appears to have supported their allegations against the accused, both, by the documentary as well as oral evidence”. On mild sifting and evaluating the confessional statements of the accused Shoukat Ahmed Bakshi, Ali Mohd Mir, Javed Ahmed Zarger & Mohd Rafiq Dar as recorded in terms of Section 164 of Code of Criminal Procedure and those recorded of the accused Manzoor Ahmed Sofi alias Mushtafa and Mushtaq Ahmed Lone, in compliance to the relevant provisions of Section 15 of TADA Act, it can safely be considered as an incriminating material against all the accused as they have divulged about the hatching of criminal conspiracy punishable under Section 120- B of RPC”.
“They have further confessed that in furtherance of the conspiracy, crime was committed by them, in the present matter.
Similarly, the verbal version of the witnesses namely Hafiz-Ullah Bhat, Javed Ahmed Shah, Ghulam Mohd Bhat, Nazir Ahmed Shah, Mohd Khalid Jan and Abdul Rehman Sofi as recorded in terms of Sections 161 of Code of Criminal Procedure, supports the contention of the CBI as to the existence of a prima facie case against the accused”, the Presiding Officer said, adding “I am in agreement with the prosecution that contradictions as projected by the defence counsel in the site plan of the place of occurrence and the seizure memo, would be explained by the witnesses, in the currency of their examination”.
The Presiding officers also observed, “It is to elaborate that there is sufficient evidence, available, in this regard, in the form of confessions of the accused and of the statements of the prosecution witnesses. Non conducting of Test Identification Parade of the accused – Yasin Malik, Javed Ahmed Mir alias Nalka & Nana Ji alias Saleem loses its importance, in the existence of sufficient other evidence available in the CBI charge sheet in the shape of confessional statements of the co-accused and statements of the prosecution witnesses as recorded in terms of Section 161 of Code of Criminal Procedure”, the court said.
In other words, their complicity in the crime, in the present matter, can prima facie, be worked out, from the evidence available on the CBI charge sheet.
With these observations, the court held that Yasin Malik, Ali Mohd Mir, Manzoor Ahmed Sofi alias Mushtafa, Javed Ahmed Mir alias Nalka, Nana Ji alias Saleem, Javed Ahmed Zarger and Shoukat Ahmed Bakshi, prima facie have committed offences under Sections 302, 307 RPC, Section 3 (3) and Section 4(1) of TADA Act,1987 and Section 7/27 of Arms Act 1959 read with Section 120- B of RPC.
FACTS OF THE CASE AS EMERGED AFTER THE INVESTIGATION BY THE CBI
One of the accused- Shoukat Ahmed Bakshi twice visited Pakistan firstly in the month of April- May 1989 and secondly in September-October 1989 and met with the accused – Aman – Ullah Khan and hatched a criminal conspiracy to attack the security forces including Air Force officials, stationed at Srinagar, in order to create terror among them and in the mind of the general public.
On his return, he further entered into a criminal conspiracy with accused- Yasin Malik, Javed Ahmed Mir alias Nalka, Mushtaq Ahmed Lone, Nana Ji alias Saleem, Mohd Rafiq Dar alias Ghulam Hassan, Manzoor Ahmed Sofi alias Mushtafa, Javed Ahmed Zarger and others for executing the task assigned to him by the accused – Aman Ullah Khan.
To help them execute their terror plans, Dr. Ghulam Qadir Sofi provided his residential accommodation situated at Hakam Bagh Rawal Pora to be used as a hideout for making plans and preparation by the accused persons and for keeping the illegal arms and ammunitions therein.
Simultaneously, they procured a blue-colored Maruti Car having No. JKE- 3575 from the accused – Ali Mohd Mir.
On 25.01.1990 at around 7.30 am, accused- Yasin Malik and Javed Ahmed Mir each armed himself with Klasnikov Rifles, boarded as a pillion riders on the motorcycle having No. JK D-3705, being driven by the accused- Mushtaq Ahmed Lone, who was armed with .30- bore pistol & proceeded from the hideout towards the pick-up points of Air Force personnel located near Rawal Pora.
Simultaneously, other group consisting of accused – Nana Ji alias Saleem, Manzoor Ahmed Sofi alias Mushtafa, Shoukat Ahmed Bakshi & Mohd Rafiq Dar alias Ghulam Hassan left the hideout towards the assigned destination in the Maruti Car having Reg No JK E 3575 being driven by the accused- Javed Ahmed Zarger.
On reaching the fixed point, one group of the accused started firing shots upon the seven Air Force officials namely –ML Nathian Cpl- U S Rajwar, Cpl SC Gupta, VK Sharma, LAC A. Ahmed. Cpl V.U.Shekher and Cpl B.S Dhoni, causing them serious bullet injuries. Out of the three Air Force men namely A. Ahmed, V.U Shekher & B.S. Dhoni succumbed to their injuries.
Simultaneously, another group opened indiscriminate fire shots upon a group of 10/15 Air Force officials standing at the triangle on Sannat Nagar- Rawal Pora Road, causing serious bullet injuries to three of them namely- R.C Joshi, P.K Mishra & Sheela Shrivashtaba. As a result of indiscriminate firing, Air Force personnel started running here & there. At the same time accused Yasin Malik made indiscriminate fire shots upon these running Air Force personnel.
Thereafter, after driving the motorcycle ahead, they found two more Air Force officers namely B R Sharma & R.K Khanna, who were also fired upon. With the result, both suffered grievous injuries and one of them namely- R.K Khanna succumbed to these injuries on the spot.
In the meanwhile, another group consisting of accused- Shoukat Ahmed Bakshi, Mohd Rafiq Dar and Javed Ahmed Zarger fired upon Air Force official namely- N K Rath, who, however, escaped unhurt whereas, another Air Force official namely Mohd Saleem received a bullet injury on his ankle.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.