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NIA court rejects bail pleas of 10 separatists

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Srinagar: A special court here on Monday rejected the bail applications of 10 second-rung separatist leaders arrested on the charges of trying to revive the banned Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) here.

Additional Sessions Judge Srinagar Sandeep Gandotra, special judge designated under the NIA Act, rejected the separatists’ pleas, saying if they were enlarged on bail at this stage, it would put the interests of the public and the state at risk.

“Taking into consideration the nature and gravity of offence and the larger interests of the state and security of the state, the accused persons/applicants are not entitled to bail at this stage. The embargo contained under section 43(D) proviso 5 is attracted in the present case and the accused persons/applicants herein does not deserve the latitude of bail at this stage,” the court observed.

“Further, if the accused persons/applicants are enlarged on bail at this stage, public interests/interests of state/UT shall be put to stake. The applications are accordingly dismissed and be consigned to records after due completion under rules,” the court added.

The court had clubbed the hearing of the bail applications.

The judge also observed that the rejection of the bail applications shall not be construed as expression of opinion on the merits of the main case.

The separatist leaders who had moved the bail applications were Firdous Ahmad Shah, Jahangir Ahmad Bhat, Saheel alias Suhail Ahmad Mir, Khursheed Ahmad Bhat, Syed Rehman Shams, Sajad Hussain Gul, Mohammad Rafiq Phaloo, Ghulam Hassan Parray alias Firdousi, Mohammed Yaseen Bhat and Shabir Ahmad Dar.

They were detained on June 10, 2023 by police from a restaurant in the city. An FIR No. 23/2023 under sections 10, 13, 18/UAP Act, and 121-A, IPC was registered against them.

Earlier the applicants told the court that they had gathered in a restaurant for an Eid Milan party and were arrested by the Police Station Kothibagh without any reason. They said that they are law-abiding citizens and there is no chance of them absconding from the course of justice, if granted bail.

One of the bail applicants, Syed Rehman Shams said that he is a reputed scholar and in that capacity he had been invited to a lunch party where he had to say something about Eid-ul-Azha.

The police told the court that “many ex-members of banned unlawful association of JKLF-Y, separatist activists had met in the restaurant for a meeting which was a cover up for undertaking separatist/ unlawful activities.  They were waging war against the Government of India and threatening the integrity, sovereignty and security of India.”

During the course of investigation, the police said “it seized mobile phones and DVR were deposited at FSL Srinagar through proper receipt and that during the investigation some statements of PWs and protected witnesses have been recorded with regard to commission of crime.”

The police said “Yaseen Bhat and Rafiq Phaloo, who are both ex-militants of JKLF(Y) and who have been active workers in the past, have been conspiring to revive JKLF in the Kashmir Valley. They have been conspiring with handlers across the border and as well as organizations like Kashmir Global Council, to unite different pro-freedom groups such as Hurriyat, JKLF, etc.”

The NIA designated court after hearing the arguments said “serious allegations have been made against all the accused persons /applicants in the statements of protected witness No. 1 and protected witness No. 2, who had also gone and attended the said meeting.

“Some accused persons have talked to terrorists across the border in Pakistan in the evening prior to the meeting and on the morning of the meeting on 09/07/2023. The report of CCTV and DVR footage of Habib restaurant is yet to be obtained from the FSL; the report of some electronic gadgets and laptops are yet to be obtained from FSL; the reports of mobile phones of some accused persons/applicants have been obtained from FSL and they run into thousands of pages which are being analysed.”

It further said “since all the accused persons are being investigated for the offence of conspiracies U/s 121-A IPC and U/s 18 of UAP Act, which of course would be known only after proper investigation, and the liabilities for conspiracies are joint therefore anyone of them cannot claim at this stage that he is not responsible for the acts of other accused person.”

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