Srinagar: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested Javed Ahmed Mir, a former chief commander of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) in connection with a case pertaining to the killing of four Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel in Srinagar’s Rawalpora area nearly three decades ago.
54-year-old Mir was picked up by the sleuths of CBI from his residence in Srinagar’s Jamalatta locality on Wednesday and later taken to Jammu. The CBI was assisted by the J&K police in effecting Mir’s arrest, the officials said. Mir was later produced before a CBI court in Jammu, which released him on bail, the officials said.
On January 25, 1990, four IAF personnel, including a squadron leader, were gunned down by suspected militants at Rawalpora when they were waiting for bus to relocate to an Air Force base near Srinagar airdrome. Around 40 others, including a woman, had received serious injuries in the attack.
In August and September 1990, the CBI had filed two chargesheets against Muhammad Yasin Malik, the incumbent JKLF chief, Mir and other accused before the designated Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (Tada) court at Jammu.
Malik who is currently lodged in Tihar Jail is being produced through video conferencing in a special Tada court in Jammu. He was arrested by the J&K police from his residence in Srinagar’s Maisuma area on February 22 this year and subsequently detained under the state’s stringent Public Safety Act (PSA).
The Centre had in March this year declared the JKLF as an unlawful association.
Mir is at present associated with a different faction of the JKLF, the organisation which seeks reunification of Jammu and Kashmir to make it an independent, sovereign country.
In 1995, a single bench of the Jammu and Kashmir high court stayed the trial as there was no Tada court in Srinagar. In 2008, Malik approached a special court saying that the trial should be shifted to Srinagar as he was facing security problems in view of the Amarnath land row which had pitted the Kashmir Valley against Jammu region of the state.
The CBI filed objections and opposed the application, which was rejected in an order issued by the court on April 20, 2009. However, in April this year decks were cleared for the trial of Malik in TADA court in Jammu in the two cases after standing counsel for CBI, Monika Kohli, argued before the J&K High Court that the agency had opposed transfer of cases to Srinagar which was rejected. She also informed the court that petitions challenging the order of TADA court were filed with the High Court but these could not be heard. She also informed Justice Sanjay Kumar Gupta that the TADA court in Srinagar was abolished and the designated court in Jammu was given jurisdiction throughout the State with its headquarters in Jammu in May 1990.
In a 27-page judgment, Justice Gupta, while vacating the order by a single bench, said “... From bare perusal of contents of petitions and relief sought therein, one can definitely come to conclusion that petitioners (Malik) have sought transfer of their cases from designated court Jammu to additional court at Srinagar, which is not permissible under law.”
As per the charge-sheet, Malik and three other JKLF cadres had fired their AK 47 rifles indiscriminately to target IAF personnel who were waiting for buses in Srinagar’s Rawalpora area to report to their duty on the morning of January 25, 1990. Four of them were killed on the spot whereas forty others including a woman received injuries in the sneak attack, it says.