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NIA Court Dismisses PDP Leader’s Application To Travel Abroad To Pursue Yale University Peace Fellowship

According to the court, the charges have been framed against the applicant for offences under UAP Act and under Sections 120-B, 121, 121-A, 124-A of the Indian Penal Code which are very grievous and punishable with death and imprisonment for life.

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Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) leader Waheed-ur-Rehman Parra
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The court of special judge designated under NIA Act Wednesday rejected an application of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) leader Waheed-ur-Rehman Parra to visit the United States to pursue a three-month Peace Fellowship Programme at Yale University. 

The court said the charges have been framed against the applicant for offences under UAP Act and under Sections 120-B, 121, 121-A, 124-A of the Indian Penal Code which are very grievous and punishable with death and imprisonment for life.

The court said allegations against the applicant are that he is having close links with the “foreign and local terrorists as well as that he is funding, aiding and supporting terrorist activities, terrorist organizations.”

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“Investigating agency has already taken up the matter with the Ministry of Home Affairs government of India and a formal request for assistance (MLAT) has been forwarded to the USA. One cannot lose sight of the fact that the applicant has filed this application seeking permission to go to that country only i.e. the USA for pursuing Peace Fellowship 2023 to which the MLAT request has been forwarded.”

The court said the argument of the additional public prosecutor that there are chances of the applicant fleeing from the country and there are apprehensions of the applicant trying to influence the collection of evidence in the USA merits consideration.

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The court further said the applicant had earlier moved an application to visit Mumbai as his father was diagnosed with cancer and the court on April 21, 2023 had granted him the permission on humanitarian grounds to take his father to TATA Memorial Center Mumbai. “However, the facts of the present application are totally different because not only the trial of the case will get hampered which is at evidence stage but there are genuine apprehensions of the applicant fleeing from the country and then trying to disrupt the collection of evidence in the USA for which MLAT request has been sent through government of India.”

The court said for these reasons the application is dismissed.

Parra had filed an application before the court seeking permission to leave the station for the Peace Fellowship Programme at the Yale University, commencing from September 2023 in the United States of America. He had sought direction to release his passport which is with the police custody in accordance with the High Court directions when he was admitted to bail on May 25, 2022. Parra pleaded he deserves to be accorded the permission to travel abroad and pursue this prestigious opportunity.

The NIA pleaded that the essence of the Peace Fellowship Program at Yale University is in contrast and antithetical to the activities of the accused. “The fellowship is a mere means which has been managed by the applicant primarily to impede and disrupt the ongoing lawful ‘further investigation’ and also to derail the proper trial of the case; that the charges against the applicant accused are not only serious but multifarious also.”

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Parra was detained on August 5, 2019, the day the government abrogated Article 370. He was initially arrested under section 107 of the CrPC. Later he was released and kept under house arrest.

On November 25, 2020, Parra was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on terrorism charges.

The special court of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on January 9, 2021 granted him bail in the case.  But within moments of getting released, he was again booked under UAPA by Jammu and Kashmir police wing, Counter Intelligence (CIK) and was held at Joint interrogation Centre Kashmir for months and was later shifted to Central Jail Srinagar.

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On May 25, 2022, Parra was granted bail after 18 months in a terror-related case by the Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court which said the evidence gathered by the prosecution is "too sketchy" to deny him the relief.

In its order, the High Court had asked Parra to present himself before the investigating officer as and when required to and not leave the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir without the prior permission of the trial court.

In April this year he was named for the inaugural Yale Peace Fellow at Yale’s International Leadership Center.

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