6 HUJI terrorists get life term in Sachin-Saurav kidnap plot

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Ashish Tripathi

New Delhi, Jan 15 (PTI) Sending a stern message that thecountry cannot be allowed to be a "safe heaven" forterrorists, a Delhi court today awarded maximum lifeimprisonment to six HuJI men for plotting to kidnap cricketicons Sachin Tendulkar and Saurav Ganguly in 2002.

"The punishment must send a clear message that Indiais not nor will it become a safe haven for terrorists",Additional Sessions Judge Pinki said while sentencing theconvicts, including three Pakistanis, who had also planned toattack Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and assassinate formerPresident A P J Abdul Kalam, to life term.

The court accepted the Delhi police''s plea to awardthe maximum sentence to them under the POTA for plotting tokidnap the cricketers and for involving in anti-nationalactivities.

"Terrorism is a unique crime. It has no equals. Terrorismanywhere is a threat to peace," the court said while stressingthat the terrorists cannot be given lenient sentence as theyattacked the fundamentals of society.

"It is far more insidious as it attacks our values oflife and seeks to destroy the fundamentals to which we arecommitted", the court said in its order on the quantum ofsentence.

While pleading for a lenient view, the HuJI militantshad contended that the Delhi High Court had reduced thesentence of three of their associates, who pleaded guilty, toonly eight years jail term in 2005.

The court, however, refused to take a lenient viewtowards the convicts saying they were not repentant.

"There is no evidence that these convicts are remorsefulfor their conduct that was illegal and potentially lethal noris there any possibility of their rehabilitation," the courtsaid.

The court had on December 24 held all the six men guiltyunder various provisions of the POTA and the IPC.

The 3 convicts from Pakistan are Tariq Mohammed, ArshadKhan and Ashfaq Ahmed.

Besides them, three Indians -- Mufti Israr, Ghulam QadirBhatt and Ghulam Mohd Dar -- were also held guilty in thecase.

The convicts wanted to secure the release of two HuJIterrorists Nasarullah Langrial and Abdul Rahim who were thenlodged in different jails here, the police had alleged.

It was also alleged by the prosecution that Rahim wasan associate of Asif Raza Khan, an aide of Umar Sheikh who wasreleased by Indian Government along with others in return forthe release of passengers of the hijacked Indian Airlinesplane IC 814 in Afghanistan in 1999.

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