On May 25, 2022, the Indian National Investigation Agency (NIA) Special Judge Parveen Singh sentenced the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front’s (JKLF) Chief Yasin Malik to life in prison. It was noted that the “Special NIA Judge clarifies all sentences to run concurrently and that life term means till the end of life.” Also, the verdict delivered “two life sentences and five 10-year jail terms, all to be served concurrently.” Previously, he was tried and convicted by the NIA Court in Delhi on May 19, as “He was found guilty of participating in and funding terrorist acts and involvement in criminal conspiracy.” The NIA charged Malik that he remained at the “fore-front of separatist activities and violence since 1988” and was charged with waging war against the Indian state and raising funds for terrorist activities. However, Malik’s JKLF relinquished the armed struggle against the Indian occupying forces in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) in the 1990s and envisaged a secular outlook for an independent Kashmir. The timing of Malik’s sentencing is very important as the delimitation process is underway in the IIOJK and apparently the Indian occupying authorities intend to silence the voices of resistance.
Soon after the court’s verdict, clashes broke out in the IIOJK, and the occupying authorities suspended the internet and other connectivity-related facilities. It revealed that despite India caged Malik and illegally banned the JKLF in 2019, it could not stop the people from protesting the erratic verdict and calling for his release. It is clear as a day that Malik continues to live in the hearts and minds of the people of IIOJK and keeping him away from his people could not break their true spirit and bond.