Killing of IAF men: Yasin Malik rejects court’s legal aid, insists on physical appearance

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A special court  on Monday offered legal aid to (Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front) JKLF chief Yasin Malik, but he turned it down and again insisted on his physical appearance in the hearing on the killing of four Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel in 1990.

Malik appeared in the hearing via video conference from Delhi’s Tihar Jail where he is currently lodged, standing counsel for the CBI Monika Kohli said. Malik, 56, is serving a life sentence in a “terror-funding case.”

After the JKLF chief declined the offer of legal aid, the court asked him to submit his stand in writing on the next date of hearing in the third week of September, Kohli said.

Turning down his plea for physical appearance, the court said there were clear directions from the high court for producing the accused in all cases through video conferencing.

However, the court offered him legal aid but he declined, the CBI counsel said.

Malik observed a 10-day hunger strike from July 22 after the Centre did not respond to his plea for allowing him to physically appear in a Jammu court hearing the Rubaiya Sayeed abduction case in which he is an accused.

Kohli is the chief prosecutor in the two key cases against Malik — the 1989 abduction of Rubaiya Sayeed, the daughter of then Union home minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, and the killing of four IAF personnel — which had taken place when militancy broke out in Kashmir Valley.

She has been representing the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) as a retainer counsel in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court since 2015.

In the case of killing of the IAF personnel, charges were framed against Malik, Ali Mohammed Mir, Manzoor Ahmed Sofi alias Mustafa, Javed Ahmed Mir alias ‘Nalka’, Showkat Ahmed Bakshi, Javed Ahmed Zargar and Nanaji in March 2020.

They all have been charge-sheeted for murder, attempt to murder and under sections of the from now-defunct Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act.

The framing of charges was in connection with the case related to the killing of Indian Air Force officers on January 25, 1990 on the outskirts of Srinagar city. The charge sheet was filed by the CBI the same year in August.

According to the CBI, the IAF personnel were fired upon by militants in which 40 of them, including a woman, received serious injuries and four IAF personnel were killed on the spot.

Recently, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) got summons issued to prime witness Rubaiya Sayeed, who had been kidnapped in December 1989, for recording her statement. This was for the first time in 33 years that she was appearing before the court.

During the trial, Rubaiya Sayeed identified Malik as one of the kidnappers. Malik had recently demanded that he be allowed to appear physically before the Jammu court for cross-questioning the prosecution witnesses in the case. (PTI)

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