After nearly three decades, trial in the killing of four Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel in Kashmir is scheduled to start this week as production warrant has been issued against JKLF chief and main accused in the case Yasin Malik. A special court has issued warrant against Malik and three others who were allegedly involved in this incident which took place on January 25, 1990, on the outskirts of Srinagar city.
It is to be noted that Malik is currently in judicial custody at Delhi's Tihar Jail after he was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in connection with a terror funding case. Sources told Zee Media that it was likely that Malik would be produced through video conferencing.
The CBI had filed two charge sheets against Malik in August and September of 1990 before the designated TADA court in Jammu but the JKLF chairman was granted a stay on trial in 1995 by a single bench of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court as Srinagar had no designated TADA court.
In 2008, Malik had filed a plea before a special court requesting that the trial should be shifted to Srinagar as he was facing security problems. The CBI, however, had opposed Malik's application, which was rejected on April 20, 2009.
Finally, the path for trial against Malik was cleared in April 2019 after CBI counsel Monika Kohli told the Jammu and Kashmir High Court that the agency had opposed the transfer of case to Srinagar which was rejected. Kohli also informed the High Court that the agency had also filed plea challenging TADA court order but these could not be heard.
During the hearing, Kohli informed HC Justice Sanjay Kumar Gupta that there is no TADA court in Srinagar and the designated court in Jammu was given jurisdiction to hear such cases in May 1990.
In his order, Justice Gupta 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."
The IAF case dates back to January 25, 1990 when IAF employees were fired upon by terrorists in which four of them, including Squadron Leader Ravi Khanna, died on the spot. A charge sheet in this case was filed on August 31, 1990, against Malik and five others before the designated TADA court in Jammu.
Talking to Zee News, Ravi Khanna's widow Shalini Khanna said that she has been waiting for justice for the last 30 years. Shalini, however, expressed hope that she will now get justice and Malik will face justice for his crime which he had committed three decades ago.