A special NIA court in Srinagar has denied bail to ten second-rung separatist leaders and activists. These individuals were arrested earlier this year in connection with a case involving the revival of the banned outfit JKLF.
The arrests took place on July 9 when the police detained 43 individuals at Habib Restaurant in Srinagar. Subsequently, 33 of them, including 32 adults and one juvenile, were released after furnishing bonds as no incriminating evidence was found against them. However, the remaining ten accused were arrested and have been facing legal proceedings.
The Additional Sessions Judge, designated under the NIA Act, Sandeep Gandotra, rejected the bail applications of these ten individuals, expressing concerns that their release at this stage could pose a risk to public and state interests. The accused had been charged under various sections of the UAP Act, but the court noted that it had not reached a stage where it could confirm the truthfulness of these allegations.
The court stressed that serious allegations had been made against the accused, and objectionable and incriminating materials, including letters written by Yaseen Malik advocating for the freedom of Jammu and Kashmir and photographs promoting “Kashmir Banega Pakistan,” were seized from some of them. Additionally, it was alleged that some of the accused had been in contact with terrorists across the border in Pakistan.
The court also mentioned that investigations were ongoing, with reports from the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) pending, including CCTV and DVR footage from Habib Restaurant and electronic gadget analysis. One of the accused, Mohammad Yaseen Bhat, had a report spanning 55,000 pages related to his case.
As a result, the court ruled that the accused individuals were not entitled to bail at this stage. It cited section 43(D) proviso 5, suggesting that their release could jeopardize public and state interests.
The denied bail applications pertain to Firdous Ahmad Shah, Jahangir Ahmad Bhat, Saheel alias Suhail Ahmad Mir, Khursheed Ahmad Bhat, Syed Rehman Shams alias Shams-u-din Rehmani, Sajad Hussain Gul, Mohammad Rafiq Phaloo alias Salim Nanaji, Ghulam Hassan Parray alias Firdousi, Mohammed Yaseen Bhat, and Shabir Ahmad Dar.