The Kerala High Court upheld the conviction and life sentence of ten defendants, including suspected Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative Tadiyantavide Naseer, by an NIA court in 2013 in a case involving the recruitment of Kerala youths to terror camps in Jammu and Kashmir to “wage war against India.”
“For those who have such radical thoughts, we can only say that the grass is not greener on the other side of the fence if you just look at history,” the high court said in upholding their convictions.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) court convicted and sentenced 13 people to life in prison for waging war against India and conspiring to wage war against the country, as defined by Sections 121 and 121A of the Indian Penal Code.
The 2nd, 14th, and 22nd accused in the case were acquitted by the Division Bench of Justice K Vinod Chandran and Justice C Jayachandran because their role in the conspiracy was not established. The Court also expressed its gratitude to the Kerala Police and the National Investigation Agency (NIA), whose investigators travelled the length and breadth of the country on the trail of divisive forces, from Kerala to Kashmir and Meghalaya to Maharashtra, tirelessly working to bring their countrymen before the law.
People from Kerala are allegedly being recruited in terror camps in Jammu and Kashmir, according to the case.
The issue was brought to light in 2008 when security forces in Kashmir shot down some suspected terrorists, four of whom turned out to be Kerala youths.
In this case, the Ernakulam NIA Special Court framed 12 issues and found 13 people guilty and 5 people not guilty of being members of a larger conspiracy to recruit Muslim youth, train them in arms and ammunition, and then spread terror throughout the country.
The convicted accused challenged their conviction in the High Court, while the NIA challenged the acquittal of the remaining 5. The NIA then began looking into the possibility of youths from Kerala being recruited to participate in terrorist activities in Kashmir.
Before the high court, Assistant Solicitor General of India S Manu, who represented NIA, argued that the trial court’s conviction and sentence were legal and that the accused’s acquittal for certain offences is reversed. When the other charges under Sections 121 and 121A of the IPC were established, the ASG argued that there was no reason to acquit the accused of the charges under Sections 120B, 122, and 124A of the IPC.
“It has been clearly established that a conspiracy was hatched to recruit men for terrorist activities, train them in arms and ammunition, and wage war with India, which probably, fizzled out with the four out of the five being shot dead in encounters.” the high court said in upholding the convictions and sentences of the ten.
“But for the sudden deaths of four such recruits in encounters in Kashmir, it would have had far-reaching consequences, both for the nation and for this state.” The bench also stated that the testimonies, documents produced, particularly the CDRs, and extracts made from digital devices seized from the homes of two of the accused, together prove the charges against the ten.
“There was a clear unbroken chain of circumstances connecting the accused with the plot hatched of recruitment to perpetrate terrorist activities; the overt acts of waging war against the nation having been proven by the death of the four recruits,” the bench continued.
The dictum in Nalini was not applied because the Court did not apply Section 30 or treat A15’s confession as an incriminating circumstance against any of the other defendants (supra). The court noted that the five young men’s decision to join a terror group “created a living hell for their families, who were plunged in grief and shame.”
” Five young men were drawn to the pleasures of a heavenly paradise that could only be obtained by killing human brethren and fellow citizens “, only to succumb to death and become its messengers.
“Whether the dead now enjoy the pleasures of the elusive paradise is a moot point,” it stated, “but they certainly created a living hell for their families who were plunged in grief and shame.” “A sister narrated how her studies abruptly ceased,” the high court added, pointing out that the grass isn’t greener on the other side of the fence for those with such radical thoughts. The evidence established the actions of each of the accused who were found guilty of conspiring to wage war against their own country. They each served as a spoke in the hub. As a result, their conviction was upheld.