Rubaiya Sayeed, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed's daughter, appeared before a special Central Bureau of Investigation court on Friday in a case related to her 1989 abduction and identified Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chief Yasin Malik and three others as the ones who took her captive, officials said.
This is the first time Rubaiya has been asked to appear in the case. She had been freed after five terrorists were released in exchange. Rubaiya, who stays in Tamil Nadu, is listed as a prosecution witness by the CBI, which took over investigations into the case in early 1990.
Rubaiya identified Malik, who was present in the court through video conferencing."
"This is the person and his name is Yasin Malik. He was the man who threatened me that he will drag me out of the minibus if I refused to follow their diktat," Rubaiya told the judge.
She later identified him again through the pictures that were exhibited in the court.
The case had gone into virtual cold storage and was revived after Malik was picked up by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in 2019 on charges of terror funding.
In January last year, the CBI, with help from special public prosecutors Monika Kohli and S K Bhat, framed charges against 10 people, including Malik, in the Rubaiya kidnapping case that turned out to be a turning point in the Valley's volatile history. The release of the five JKLF members was seen as a morale booster for terror groups, which had started raising their head at the time.
During the hearing, Rubaiya recorded her statement before the special judge and during the course she identified Malik, who was recently sentenced to life imprisonment in a terror funding case, and three others as her abductors.
Ahead of Rubaiya's statement, Malik had appeared in the same case on July 13 during which he asked the court for ensuring his physical appearance so that he could cross question the witnesses in the case or else he would sit on indefinite hunger strike in prison.
Malik told the court that he was awaiting a response from the government till July 22 failing which he would start his indefinite hunger strike.
The JKLF chief is at present lodged in the high-security Tihar Jail after he was sentenced by a special NIA court in Delhi in May. He was arrested in early 2019 in connection with the 2017 terror-funding case registered by NIA.
Rubaiya was abducted near Lal Ded Hospital on December 8, 1989 and freed from captivity five days later on December 13 after the then V P Singh government, supported by the Bharatiya Janata Party at the Centre, released the five terrorists in exchange.
Other charged in the case are Ali Mohammed Mir, Mohammed Zaman Mir, Iqbal Ahmad Gandroo, Javed Ahmad Mir, Mohammedd Rafiq Pahloo, Manzoor Ahmed Sofi, Wajahat Bashir, Mehraj-ud-Din Sheikh and Showkat Ahmad Bakshi.
During the investigation, accused Ali Mohammad Mir, Zaman Mir and Iqbal Gandroo voluntarily confessed before a magistrate about his role in the Rubaiya kidnapping. Besides, four others made confessional statements before CBI's superintendent of police.
"Since the accused persons besides admitting of their own guilt have also narrated about the participation of other accused persons namely Malik, Javed Ahmed Mir and Mehraj-U-Din Sheikh, which can also be used against them as one of the pieces of evidence," the court had said in January last year.
The 10 are among the two dozen accused named by the CBI in its chargesheet filed before the court. Among the others, top JKLF commanders Mohammad Rafiq Dar and Mushtaq Ahmad Lone are dead and 12 are absconding. They are Halima, Javed Iqbal Mir, Mohammad Yaqub Pandit, Riyaz Ahmad Bhat, Khursheed Ahmad Dar, Basharat Rehman Noori, Tariq Ashraf, Shafat Ahmad Shangloo, Manzoor Ahmad, Gulam Mohammad Taploo, Abdul Majeed Bhat and Nissar Ahmad Bhat.
In March 2020, the special court framed charges against the JKLF chief and six others in another case related to the gunning down of four IAF personnel on the outskirts of Srinagar in January 1990.