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Key Kashmiri leader health deteriorates in jail

SRINAGAR,India

A key Kashmiri leader’s health condition deteriorated in jail following a hunger strike for the second time in a year, his party said Friday.

Yasin Malik has been admitted to the Tihar jail hospital in the Indian capital of New Delhi after he fell ill, Muhammad Rafiq Dar, spokesman of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) told.

“Yasin Malik was on a hunger strike from March 4, against the Indian government human behavior and judicial terrorism,” Dar said

His condition deteriorated and he is unable to sit and walk, Dar said, adding Malik currently is suffering from several ailments, including heart disease, kidney stones and a backache.

According to the spokesman, Malik was taken by stretcher Tuesday and was presented before a judge via video link.

But Dar accused the judge of not allowing Malik to defend himself and muting his voice whenever he responded to charges by the Indian government.

Malik’s wife Mushaal Hussein Mullick criticized the judge in the case.

“Yasin Malik in Tihar Jail is on hunger strike since 4th of March against ill intentions of the Indian State government, against Indian judicial terrorism and against the callous attitude of Jammu TADA court judge,” Mullick tweeted Thursday and requested prayers for her husband’s recovery and health.

When Anadolu Agency contacted the Tihar jail authorities regarding Malik’s health, they refused to comment.

Malik was admitted to a hospital in New Delhi last April after his health deteriorated due to a hunger strike against the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) “who tortured him during the interrogation and this time he is protesting against the judicial terrorism,” Dar said.

“Malik has already withdrawn his lawyer after the judge behavior not allowing him arguments,” he added

Malik was arrested in February 2019 and slapped with a Public Safety Act — which allows anyone in Kashmir to be arrested for up to two years without a trial, however, Indian authorities later registered another “terror funding case” against him.

On April 9, the NIA transferred him to New Delhi, where a court sent him to NIA’s custody for interrogation.

Several Kashmiri leaders have been arrested on similar charges by the NIA and imprisoned in New Delhi.

Disputed region

Indian-administered Kashmir has been under a near-complete lockdown since Aug. 5 when New Delhi ended the previously codified constitutional regulations for the Muslim-majority region.

Several rights groups, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, have repeatedly called on India to lift the restrictions such as an internet ban, and release political detainees.

Kashmir is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of the state is also held by China.

Since partition in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars — in 1948, 1965 and 1971 — two of them over Kashmir.

Some Kashmiri groups in the disputed state have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.

According to several rights organizations, thousands have been killed and tortured in the conflict since 1989.

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