Case relates to training under the guise of ‘tariqat’ classes

Thirteen persons were sentenced to life imprisonment in the Kashmir terror recruitment case by an NIA court here on Friday. Three of those found guilty will serve two consecutive life terms for various offences.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) court had on Tuesday found the 13 accused guilty of waging war against the country and taking part in terrorist activities. The sentence was awarded almost five years after four terrorists who hailed from Kerala were gunned down by security forces in the Lolab forest of Kashmir. The convicts sentenced on Friday include a fifth terrorist, Abdul Jabbar of Malappuram, who escaped from the security forces on the day and 12 others convicted of conspiring to train terrorists, including Thadiyantavide Nazeer, who was found guilty in the Kozhikode blasts case of 2006.

The case relates to training classes held under the guise of ‘tariqat’ classes during 2006-2008 in Kannur and other places, inside and outside the country. Abdul Jabbar and the four Malayalis killed in Kashmir – Fayas, Fayis, Abdul Rahim, and Yasin – were recruited to these classes, organised by the others found guilty.

“In order to attract innocent Muslim youth into the terrorist movement… the convicts have spread the wrong message that ‘the terms democracy, secularism, equality, integrity, peace, freedom, voting, elections are yet another fraud,’” NIA judge S. Vijayakumar noted in his order. ‘‘The convicts being traitors, there is no scope for any sympathy or empathy,” the order added.

Abdul Jabbar was sentenced to two consecutive life terms under Sections 121 and 121 A of the Indian Penal Code and Section 16 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. These relate to waging war against the State, conspiracy to wage war, and committing terrorist act. He has also been ordered to pay a fine of Rs.2 lakh. Sixteenth accused Sabir P. Buhari of Kunnathunadu, Ernakulam, was found guilty of harbouring Jabbar in aid of terrorism. He was sentenced to two consecutive life terms and a fine of Rs.1.5 lakh. Sarfraz Nawaz will also serve a double life term. He was found guilty of raising funds in support of terrorist activities. Nawas, who left the court shouting in protest against the judgment, was sentenced to pay a fine of Rs.1.5 lakh.

Two of those found guilty on Friday – Thadiyantavide Naseer and Shafas of Kannur – are already serving life sentence for their role in the Kozhikode twin blasts case of 2006. They are also undergoing trial in the Bangalore blasts case. The judge ruled that their life term in the case would begin after they serve their sentences in the Kozhikode case.

The other persons found guilty — K.V. Abdul Jaleel, M.H. Faisal, P. Mujeeb, Ibrahim Moulavi, Firoz, Mohammad Nawaz, Sainuddin, and Ummer Farooq – were each sentenced to life term and a fine of Rs.1 lakh.

The NIA had originally accused 20 persons in the case. Two of them, Mohammad Sabir and Pakistani national Abdul Rehman alias Wali, believed to be a top operative of the Lashkar-e-Toiba, are still absconding. The charges relating to these two accused were later split to form a separate case.

More In: Kerala | National | Kochi