Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front chief Yasin Malik’s family on Saturday said the separatist leader is seriously ill in the National Investigation Agency’s custody, PTI reported. Earlier this month, Malik was sent to NIA’s custody till April 22 in connection with a case related to funding of separatists and militant groups in Jammu and Kashmir. He was taken to Tihar Jail in Delhi.
The family members, addressing a press conference at their Srinagar home, said Malik has been hospitalised for treatment in the national Capital. He had staged a hunger strike while in custody against his “illegal detention”.
“We were not allowed to meet Malik in the past 10 days,” his sister told reporters, according to The Hindu. “On Saturday, the lawyer came to know that Malik was seriously ill. He has been on a hunger strike since April 16 in protest against his illegal detention by the NIA. We fear for his life.”
Markets in Maisuma area in Lal Chowk were shut after news of his illness was reported, according to IANS.
JKLF spokesperson Muhammad Rafiq Dar said the organisation will hold a two-day hunger strike camp in Islamabad and a five-day protest in front of the Indian Embassy in London. “We condemn the inhuman and ill-treatment [of Malik],” Dar told The Hindu. “India will face serious consequences in case of any eventuality.”
Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said he was “deeply disturbed” by the sudden news about Malik being seriously ill. “His safety and well being is the responsibility of the state under whose detention he is arrested and slapped with PSA [Public Safety Act],” he said on Twitter.
The separatist leader had been detained on February 22 before being transferred to jail. Last month, the Centre banned the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for allegedly promoting secessionist activities in the state.
The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has reserved its judgement on reopening a three-decade-old case in which Malik is an accused.
The National Investigation Agency is conducting the inquiry into the financing of militancy, pelting of stones at security forces, burning down of schools and damaging of government establishments. The case also named Hurriyat Conference factions led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed, the Hizbul Mujahideen and the Dukhtaran-e-Millat.