‘Liberty of a person cannot be curtailed on mere allegations’

Court grants bail to Yasin Malik, his supporters

A court in Srinagar Wednesday granted bail to the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik and his supporters in an attempt to murder case.

After hearing the prosecution and defence counsels, the court of additional district and sessions judge Srinagar Parvaiz Kachroo said the liberty of a person cannot be curtailed on the mere allegations leveled by the prosecution, “more so when the prosecution has failed to prove by cogent evidence that the accused are of such a character as would jump over the concession of bail, if granted (sic).”

According to the FIR filed in the case, the JKLF chief and seven other members of the Front including Mushtaq Ajmal, Muhammad Hanif Dar, Imtiyaz Ahmad Dar, Imtiyaz Ahmad Ganie, Shakir Ahmad Ahangar, Fayaz Ahmad and Basharat Ahmad, were booked for “attempt to murder, endangering life or personal safety of others, assault or criminal force to deter a public servant from discharging his duty, mischief, rioting, and assaulting or obstructing public servant when suppressing riot”.

The police said all of them were part of an attempted protest march towards Badami Bagh on 20 December this year.

Malik led a symbolic protest with scores of people, including women and youth, who wore shrouds with ‘army, kills us all’ written on them.

The protest march was called by the Joint Resistance Leadership comprising Malik, Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, against killing of seven civilians by forces after a gun-battle in Pulwama.

“The bail application of the accused requires to be considered and the bail application is allowed. The accused are admitted to interim bail,” the court said, remarking that it doesn’t find any merit in the contention of the prosecution that offences allegedly committed by the accused are heinous and non-bailable and that the bail application should be rejected.

“If it is presumed that the accused have committed (these) offences, still they (accused) are entitled for grant of bail because these offences do not entail punishment of life or death. As such, the bar created under law for refusing the bail cannot be extended to the offences where the punishment is life or 10 years,” the court said, referring to various Supreme Court and High Court judgments and other provisions of law in support of its verdict.

Earlier, advocate Bashir Sidiq who represented Malik in the case, pleaded before the court that the prosecution story is “fake and concocted”.

“It is apparent on the face of the police report that no offence for attempt to murder is made out. Prosecution is making mere allegations. The prosecution has failed to prove as to how my clients (accused) are involved in the commission of offences.”

He further submitted that the police have received some articles which nowhere “connect his client with the commission of offence”.

Meanwhile, a JKLF spokesman said in a statement that its chairman, who was arrested along with other leaders of the party on 17 December 2018, “were bailed out by a magistrate on 18 December but the police, using its old tactics, re-arrested them under many frivolous charges, including the attempt to murder and presented them before a court which granted them seven-day police remand”.

“Today after the expiry of this remand, the case was heard by the additional sessions court Srinagar which ordered the release of Yasin Malik and others from police custody on an interim bail till January 17, 2019,” the statement read.

“During the past three months, Yasin Malik has spent most of his time in police custody. He was arrested on October 2 and released on October 18. He was again arrested on October 24 and released on October 28. Police again arrested him on November 19 and he was then released on December 12. After a few days of freedom, he was again arrested by the police on December 17 and kept at police station Kothibagh,” the spokesman said.