Srinagar: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in Srinagar acquitted three Kashmiris and awarded nine years of rigorous imprisonment to a Pakistani national after eight years in the 2013 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) attack case on Thursday.
The trio had been accused of being involved in the Fedayeen attack, in which five CRPF personnel and two militants were killed on the playground of J&K Police Public School, in Srinagar’s Bemina area.
Acquitting Bashir Ahmad Mir (from Uri), Syed Mukhtar Hussain (Srinagar) and Pradeep Singh (Baramulla), Special Judge Manjeet Singh Manhas said that the prosecution had failed to present any evidence and prove the charges against the trio.
“The prosecution has failed to bring home the guilt and prove the charges beyond any shadow of doubt with regard to accused... as such, they are hereby acquitted of the charges framed against them,” the court said in its judgement.
Awarding the punishment to the Pakistan national, Mohammad Zubair Illahi, alias Talha, a resident of Multan, the court observed that he had illegally crossed over to India without any valid documents in the first such conviction under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967, in the region. Illahi, the court observed, was held guilty for the commission of offence under Section 14A(b) of the Foreigners Act, 1946.
“Secondly, it has also not been established before the court that accused... had entered the territory of Union of India not on any Tourist Visa or to perform any religious obligations. But it has been proved that he had entered or crossed into the territory of Union of India with intention, aim and motive to commit unlawful activities,” according to the judgement.
The court directed the authorities to make arrangements for Illahi’s deportation to his country of origin after he completes his sentence. The period of imprisonment already undergone shall be set off, the order said, against the sentence imposed herein. “The government is hereby directed to make arrangement for the deportation of the Foreigner/accused no.1, namely, Mohammad Zubair Illahi, to his native country after the completion of the period of sentence provided he is not required in any other offence/case/FIR,” the Judge said.
More than 2,300 Kashmiris in more than 1,200 cases have been booked under the draconian UAPA since 2019 with several of them languishing in jail.