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Incarcerated Separatist Yasin Malik to Go on "Fast Unto Death" from July 22

Anees Zargar |
Since last year, Malik has been demanding a fair trial and physical appearance in court.
Yasin Mailk

Representational use only.Image

Srinagar: Incarcerated Kashmiri separatist leader and chairman of the banned outfit Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Yasin Malik has planned to go on an indefinite hunger strike in Tihar Jail from July 22, his family said on Thursday.

Abida, Malik’s sister, told reporters in Srinagar that she received a “will” from the 56-year-old from the jail after a meeting with his brother last week. 

In his statement, Malik reiterated his conviction in the non-violent ‘freedom struggle’ that he perceived as a more “powerful force.” In 1994, Malik announced a unilateral ceasefire as a militant commander to begin his journey as an advocate of Kashmir’s resolution through non-violent means.

Malik was part of a group who were amongst the first Kashmiri youth to cross the Line of Control (LoC) to receive arms training and led hundreds of young men during the earlier years of insurgency in the region before he switched to non-violence. 

“For me, the challenge has always been to find creative ways of carving out non-violent struggle in the face of violent state oppression, violence fixated news media. Therefore, having complete faith in the non-violent institution, I have decided to go in the fasting to death from 22 July 2022,” Malik’s statement read. 

His sister claimed that their mother Atiqa tried to convince Malik against the hunger strike but, he refused. “He said this is his last resort and called it a farewell,” she added. 

The development comes after Rubaiya Sayeed, the daughter of former Union Home Minister Mufti Sayeed, on July 15 identified Malik as one of her abductors in a kidnapping case from the year 1989. Rubaiya was kidnapped on December 8 that year and held captive for days after her release was secured in exchange for five militants- Hamid Sheikh, Altaf Ahmed Bhat, Noor Mohd Kalwal, Javed Ahmed Zarger and Sher Khan. The militants belonged to the JKLF which has been banned since 2019. 

The case was re-opened last year when a Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) court in Jammu, ordered the framing of charges against Malik and nine others in the incident. Malik has since demanded a fair trial and physical appearance in court. 

“I have still been deliberately deprived of the basic right to defend myself which construes a straight violation of Article 114 and Article 21 of the Constitution...” Malik said in the statement. 

Malik, who is pleading his own cases, said that a criminal case- which has the life of a man on the line and attracts nothing but capital punishment, should be tried with utmost seriousness. “To call for my virtual presence via video-conferencing only when the case for which I am being tried has reached a critical level that the prosecution witness is being exhibited, it is tantamount to nothing but malicious and vindictive prosecution,” he added. 

On May 25, Malik was sentenced to life imprisonment by a National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in a 2017 case related to terror funding and aiding militancy and secessionist activities in Kashmir.

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