JKLF chief Yasin Malik on Wednesday told a CBI court that he wants to cross question witnesses in the 1989 Rubaiya Sayeed kidnapping case himself in a physical hearing else he would sit on hunger strike in prison, officials said.
They said Malik appeared before the court through video conferencing and said that he had written to the government for a physical appearance.
The chief of the banned Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front who is undergoing a life sentence in a terror funding case also informed the court that he has requested for cross examination of witnesses himself and would sit on a hunger strike if his plea was not accepted by the government.
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 officials said.
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 National Investigation Agency (NIA).
The present case relates to the kidnapping of Rubaiya Sayeed, daughter of former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, by JKLF on December 8, 1989.
She was freed from captivity five days later on December 13 after the then V P Singh government at the Centre, supported by the BJP, released five JKLF terrorists in exchange.
The case had gone into virtual cold storage and was revived after Malik was picked up by the NIA in 2019.
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.
After the release of the five JKLF members, terror groups started raising their heads.
Rubaiya was kidnapped by members of JKLF members from Srinagar to ensure the release of their associates lodged in different jails.
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 their and other's including Malik's 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 charge sheet. Among the others, top JKLF commanders Mohammad Rafiq Dar and Mushtaq Ahmad Lone are dead and 12 are absconding. These 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.
(With PTI inputs)