Majid Kapra

Sajad Lone asks Center to probe rigging of 1987 Assembly elections 

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“Rigging followed by arrests and tortures forces people like Yasin Malik to pick up guns”  

Srinagar: People’s Conference chairman Sajad Gani Lone on Saturday said that jailed separatist leader Yasin Malik was not born with a gun in hand and that he deserves a fair trial. 

Lone also demanded a probe into the alleged rigging in the 1987 Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir. He said the 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”.

“First of all I would like to make it amply clear that neither my party nor do I support Malik’s ideology, but being citizen of Jammu and Kashmir, he has a right to be heard, and put forth his stand as he (Malik) was not a born gunman but the situation and circumstances forced him to take arms,” Lone added.

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 it covering it up?” Lone said.

He said the compulsions of the Congress party to not inquire of 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 history, then perhaps, nothing would have happened. Whatever is happening, followed that only,” he said.

He also lambasted NC president Farooq Abdullah for blaming the center and “agencies” if he’s questioned for anything. “This man (Yasin Malik) has served nearly 30 years in jail, now he was awarded with lifer; why did you (Abdullah) torture him, why were thousands other youths tortured; why”

Lone while quoting from Malik’s will on social media, read “We (Malik and others like him) supported Muslim United Front (MUF) in 1987 assembly elections and the day result was to be declared, my (Malik’s) apprehensions proved right as the losers were declared winners and winners as losers….” 

Malik, says he was arrested from a counting station on the same day and was shifted to the infamous Red-16 interrogation center at Gupkar Road “wherein my (Malik’s) blood got infected due to unhealthy food and water”.

Lone said that Malik was then shifted to police hospital as the brutal torture at Red-16 had severally affected his heart — “its Yasin Malik and not me who says this,” clarified Lone, adding that hundreds of youth from my (Malik’s) organization were booked under PSA, and I was in jail for full year in 1987.”

Lone appealed to the center to initiate time-bound inquiry into 1987 elections and expose those who forced Kashmiri youth to take arms as an alternative to democratic process.

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 the 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,” Lone said. 


Yasin Malik on hunger strike in Tihar Jail

New Delhi, Jul 23 (PTI) Kashmiri separatist leader Yasin Malik is on 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.

Malik, 56, head of the banned Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), began his indefinite strike on Friday as he had threatened earlier this month, they said.

On Friday morning, he refused to eat anything despite repeated requests by jail authorities, the officials said. His health is being closely monitored.

Appearing before a special CBI judge through video conference, Malik had said he wanted to appear physically in the case related to the kidnapping of Rubaiya Sayeed, daughter of the then Union Home minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, in December 1989.

Malik informed the court that he had written a letter to the government seeking his transfer to a Jammu jail so he could appear physically in the case and contest the allegations against him. 

He had said he would like to personally cross-examine all the prosecution witnesses in the case and would wait for a government nod till July 22. If not, he would sit on an indefinite hunger strike inside the jail.

Malik began his protest when he received no information from the government about his plea to shift him to any prison in Jammu, the officials said.             

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