APPEARING BEFORE a Special TADA Judge in a case related to her abduction in 1989, Rubaiya Sayeed, daughter of former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, identified Yasin Malik, the jailed Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief, and three others as her abductors on Friday.
The case dates back to December 8, 1989, when Rubaiya was abducted from a mini-bus in Srinagar, when she was returning home from the Lal Ded Memorial Hospital where she was a medical intern. Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was then the Union Home Minister in the V P Singh government.
The JKLF had claimed the abduction and demanded the release of five jailed militants. The militants were freed, and Rubaiya was released after five days in captivity.
This was the first time that Rubaiya was asked to appear before the court to record her statement. According to officials, Rubaiya identified Malik, who was present via video conference, as the person who had threatened to drag her out of the mini-bus at the time of her abduction. She again identified him and three others from their photographs that formed part of the prosecution’s evidence.
The other three who she identified have been named as Mohammad Zaman Mir, Mehraj-ud-Din Sheikh and Manzoor Ahmed Sofi.
Rubaiya was listed as a prosecution witness by the CBI, which took over the investigation in the early 1990s. The court fixed August 23 for her cross-examination by defence lawyers.
Convicted in a terror funding case, Malik is serving life term in Delhi’s Tihar jail.
In January last year, the court had framed charges against 10, including Malik, in the abduction case. Besides the four identified by Rubaiya on Friday, the others are: Ali Mohammad Mir, Iqbal Ahmad Gandroo, Javed Ahmad Mir alias Nalka, Mohammad Rafiq Pahloo alias Nana Ji alias Saleem, Wajahat Bashir and Showkat Ahmad Bakshi.
In its chargesheet, the CBI had named two dozen people – two are dead and 12 others are absconding. While Mohammad Rafiq Dar and Mushtaq Ahmed Lone are dead, the 12 who are absconding are: Halima, Javed Iqbal Mir, Mohammad Yaqub Pandit, Riyaz Ahmed Bhat, Khursheed Ahmed Dar, Basharat Rehman Noori, Tariq Ashraf, Shafat Ahmed Shangloo, Manzoor Ahmed, Gulam Mohammad Taploo, Abdul Majeed Bhat and Nissar Ahmed Bhat.
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Malik is also facing trial in a case related to the killing of four Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel in Srinagar in January 1990. During recording of prosecution evidence by the Special TADA Judge on Wednesday, Malik had sought to appear physically before the court. Appearing via video conference from Tihar Jail, he had threatened to go on an indefinite hunger strike from July 22 if his request was not accepted.
The others accused in the killing of IAF personnel are: Ali Mohamad Mir, Manzoor Ahmed Sofi alias Mustafa, Javed Ahmed Mir alias Nalka, Nanaji alias Saleem, Javed Ahmed Zargar and Showkat Ahmed Bakshi. All the seven have been charged with criminal conspiracy and murder, besides various provisions of TADA and the Arms Act.
The trials in both cases – Rubaiya abduction and the killing of IAF personnel – gained momentum after Malik was picked up by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in 2019 on charges of terror funding. The CBI framed the charges against the JKLF leader in the killing of the IAF personnel in March 2020 and in the Rubaiya abduction case in January 2021.