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HindustanTimes Fri,25 Apr 2014

Life-term for 13 in Kashmir terror recruitment case

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times  Thiruvananthapuram, October 04, 2013
First Published: 20:53 IST(4/10/2013) | Last Updated: 20:53 IST(4/10/2013)

An NIA (National Investigation Agency) special court in Kochi on Friday sentenced 13 accused, including self-styled south Indian commander of Lakshar-e-Taiba, Thadiynatavide Nazeer, to life imprisonment in a Kashmir terror recruitment case. Among 13, three, including 15th accused Abdul Jabbar who escaped from the encounter with security forces along the Indo-Pak border, will have to undergo double life-term.

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All 13 were found guilty by the court on Tuesday. Though the prosecution has sought death sentence to Abdul Jabbar, judge S Vijakumar observed that the case won't come under the ambit of a rarest of the rare case. All of them were charged with waging war against the nation and taking part in anti-national activities.

Delivering the verdict, the judge said such a sentence should be a lesson to all who turn against the country on flimsy reasons. The case came to light after four youths from the state killed in an encounter with security forces in Kupwara (J&K) in 2008. Initially, the case was probed by the Kerala police but later handed over to the NIA, which filed the charge-sheet in 2011. The NIA found that many youths from northern districts of Kerala were recruited by LeT in the guise of religious classes to carry out anti-national activities in Kashmir and other areas.

Nazeer, who was allegedly involved in many terror plots, including the 2005 attack on Indian Institute of Sciences, Bangalore, was arrested from Bangladesh in 2009 and handed over to India. Earlier, Nazeer and some of his accomplices were sentenced to triple life-term by the same court in twin blast case in Kozhikode. Nazeer is facing five more terror cases against him.

The Kashmir terror recruitment case was one of the sensational cases that rocked the hitherto peaceful state. Soon many termed the state as a breeding ground for terror activities.

Interestingly, the mother of one of the killed ultra (Faiz) PK Safia said she expected noose for all. "I am upset. They should have been hanged. Such a punishment would have been a deterrent to all such elements," she said in Kannur. All four families had earlier refused to accept bodies of four youth killed in Kashmir.

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