Malik deservers fair trial, demands probe into 1987 poll rigging, says Lone

Malik deservers fair trial, demands probe into 1987 poll rigging, says Lone

Srinagar: People’s Conference chairman Sajad Lone on Saturday said JKLF chairman Yasin Malik, convicted in a militancy funding case, deserves a fair trial and demanded a probe into the alleged rigging in the 1987 assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.
He said the 1987 rigging resulted in the eruption of militancy in the Kashmir Valley and asked National Conference president and former chief minister Farooq Abdullah why Malik was tortured.

“We do not agree to his (Malik’s) ideology, but he is a citizen of J&K and has a right to a fair trial. His point of view be at least heard,” Lone told reporters.

He said Malik was one of those who had raised their voice against the alleged rigging in the 1987 assembly elections.

“Was Yasin Malik born with a gun in hand or did the situation compel him to do so? Most of those youth are either dead or are in jail. Why is the Central government not lifting the veil from 1987? Why is the covering it up?” Lone said.

He said the compulsions of the Congress party to not inquire the alleged rigging can be understood because the party was a part of it, but what is stopping the BJP, which was not in power then, from investigating the matter.

“You (BJP) say you want to change everything and that everything which has happened was wrong,” Lone said, adding “when the saffron party was getting even decades-old minor incidents investigated by the NIA, then why not the 1987 rigging.”

He said the 1987 rigging was the trigger point for the eruption of militancy in Kashmir.

The reality is that if 1987 is taken out of the history, then perhaps, nothing would have happened. Whatever is happening, followed that only, he said.

Malik, 56, head of the banned Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), began a hunger strike in Tihar Jail after the government did not respond to his plea that he be allowed to physically appear in a Jammu court hearing the Rubaiya Sayeed kidnapping case in which he is an accused, officials said on Saturday.

He was arrested in early 2019 in connection with a 2017 militancy-funding case registered by the National Investigation Agency (NIA). Malik had pleaded guilty in the case and was sentenced to life imprisonment by a special NIA court in Delhi in May.

Asked about the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) — which his party quit after being a part of it for some time — Lone said the amalgam was dead .

“It is not PAGD, but NC-PDP alliance. It is an alliance of two parties only to stop any other party from coming to power. The PAGD was there, but now it is not. It is dead,” he said.

Asked about NC vice president Omar Abdullah’s tweet about opposition unity in the country, Lone said “it seems it was done to please the BJP and (keep) distance from the Congress.”

Omar Abdullah had tweeted, Opposition unity is a bit of a chimera. Ultimately political parties will do what’s in their own interest & that’s as it should be. J&K saw this when we were left high & dry by friends in 2019. It’s time for @JKNC_ to do suits the party rather than waste time chasing ghosts.

Taking a dig at PDP president Mehbooba Mufti over her remarks that her sister Rubaiya Sayeed performed her legal duties by identifying Malik as her abductor, Lone said Mufti should stop talking about reconciliation.

“When 1990 came, two new words came militant and mukhbir’ (informer). So, they have played the role of an informer. It is their right to be an informer and no one will stop them, but, they should say it. They talk about reconciliation, talks with militants, (Hizbul Mujahideen chief) (Syed) Salahudin, and Pakistan. When you are an informer, then do not talk about these things because an informer cannot talk about reconciliation,” he said. PTI



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