A National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in India has convicted a leading Kashmiri separatist in a terror funding case, which might bring him life imprisonment or end him up with the death penalty.
Mohammed Yasin Malik, the chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), faced several charges in Thursday’s court, including “terrorist” acts, illegally raising funds, being a member of a “terrorist organization,” criminal conspiracy, and sedition, all of which he has denied.
“Terrorism-related charges leveled against me are concocted, fabricated, and politically motivated,” the JKLF cited him as telling the court.
“If seeking Azadi (freedom) is a crime, then I am ready to accept this crime and its consequences,” he told the judge.
Judge Praveen Singh has set May 25 for hearing arguments, directing Malik to provide an affidavit regarding his financial assets.
The arrest of JKLF chief came shortly after he began a hunger strike against the government to protest New Delhi’s plan to build separate townships for Hindu migrants in the disputed Muslim majority region in 2015.
He was arrested again by the NIA in 2019 in connection with an overarching terror-funding case that had opened in 2017 in the disputed valley.
JKLF is the oldest pro-independence group in the Kashmir region, which was banned by the Indian government in 2019. It was the same year when the Modi government scrapped the special status of Kashmir.
Disputed Kashmir has been split between India and Pakistan since partition in 1947. Both countries claim all of Kashmir and have fought three wars over the territory.
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