Before Yasin Malik, Tihar’s jail number 7 housed P Chidambaram, DK Shivakumar

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Security doubled down at Delhi’s Tihar Jail on Wednesday after a Delhi court awarded a life imprisonment sentence to Yasin Malik, the leader of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) in a case pertaining to terrorism and secessionist activities in 2016-17.

Special Judge Praveen Singh awarded varying jail terms to Malik, rejecting the National Investigation Agency's plea for capital punishment.

He said the crimes for which Malik was convicted were of very serious nature.

“These crimes were intended to strike at the heart of the idea of India and intended to forcefully secede Jammu and Kashmir from the Union of India. The crime becomes more serious as it was committed with the assistance of foreign powers and designated terrorists. The seriousness of crime is further increased by the fact that it was committed behind the smokescreen of an alleged peaceful political movement,” the judge said as per a PTI report.

Also read: From Rubaiya Sayeed's kidnapping to killing of IAF personnel: The cases against Yasin Malik

The Kashmiri separatist will now spend the rest of his life alone at Jail number 7 of Tihar Prison, away from the remaining 35,000-odd inmates in the prison.

Additionally, Malik will not be assigned any work at the jail due to security reasons, Hindustan Times reported. “Convicts are usually given different jobs. It could be in the prison’s carpentry unit, bakery, or even managing the library and kitchen. A majority of the convicts are usually shifted to jail 2 where they are assigned jobs based on their skills. In Malik’s case, due to security reasons, he will be kept alone in the same cell in jail 7,” a mid-level prison officer was quoted as saying to Hindustan Times.

It has also been reported that Malik will not be entitled to parole or furlough since he has been convicted in a terror funding case.

Incidentally, Yasin Malik isn’t the first high-profile inmate of Jail number 7 of Tihar Prison. In September 2019, Congress’ P Chidambaram and DK Shivakumar were lodged in this prison.

For 76-year-old Chidambaram, Jail number 7 was his home for 106 days, before he was freed on bail in connection with the INX Media money-laundering case.

The Rajya Sabha member had been arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on 21 August 2019 for alleged irregularities in the grant of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to INX Media to receive overseas funds to the tune of Rs 307 crore in 2007, when the Congress politician was finance minister in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

While in Tihar Jail, Chidambaram had complained of “developing back pain” as he neither had a chair nor a pillow in his cell.

In the case of DK Shivakumar, the Karnataka Congress leader, he was in Jail number 7 for 50 days in a money laundering case before he too was granted bail. A money laundering case was registered by the central agency against Shivakumar in 2018. The criminal case was lodged on the basis of a chargesheet filed by the Income-Tax department against Shivakumar and others before a court in Bengaluru. The IT department had accused Shivakumar of transporting a large amount of unaccounted tax through 'hawala' channels.

Prior to this, former Union Minister A Raja, Sahara boss Subrata Roy and Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam, were also in this part of Tihar prison.

In fact, the Sahara chief in Life Mantras, a book on his life and times in jail, spoke of how jail time was “painful, yet stress free”. "I lead a completely tension-free life," he had written in his book, which had been released in 2016.

As per reported information, Tihar’s Jail number 7 is meant for economic offenders. This part of the prison has a few tightly-packed wards and a couple of cells, smaller in size. As per jail manual, inmates sleep on the floor, but senior citizens are provided a 'wooden takht' without a mattress.

Besides economic offenders, the accused involved in crimes against women, including molestation cases, are also kept in Jail number 7.

With inputs from agencies

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