Court allows two-hour custody parole to Engineer Rashid to take oath as MP

Mother and son of jailed independent candidate from Baramulla constituency Sheikh Abdul Rashid alias Engineer Rashid show victory sign after Rashid won the Lok Sabha elections, on Tuesday, June 4, 2024.
Mother and son of jailed independent candidate from Baramulla constituency Sheikh Abdul Rashid alias Engineer Rashid show victory sign after Rashid won the Lok Sabha elections, on Tuesday, June 4, 2024.

New Delhi | A court here on Tuesday granted two-hour custody parole to Kashmiri leader Sheikh Abdul Rashid to take oath as a Lok Sabha MP on July 5, subject to some conditions.

Rashid, also known as Engineer Rashid, was elected from Baramulla seat as an independent candidate defeating National Conference leader Omar Abdullah in the recent Lok Sabha polls.

He was arrested in a 2017 Jammu and Kashmir terror funding case.

Rashid had moved the court seeking interim bail, or custody parole in the alterative, to take oath and perform his parliamentary functions.

Additional Sessions Judge Chander Jit Singh allowed custody parole for two hours on July 5 to enable him to take oath, subject to a few conditions. These included a custody parole of two hours or till the conclusion of proceedings, whichever was later. The designated time of two hours excluded travel time.

It said Rashid’s wife and children were allowed to be present, on production of identity cards, during the making and subscribing of the oath and that he was not allowed access to a phone and internet.

The court also said he shall not speak to or address the media on any issue, nor would he interact with anyone except the officials concerned.

His family was directed to not take photos of the ceremony or post them on social media, the court said.

On Monday, the NIA's counsel did not oppose Rashid's plea and said his oath taking should be subject to some conditions like not speaking to the media and completing all formalities within a day.

Rashid has been in jail since 2019 after he was charged by the NIA under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for his alleged involvement in a terror funding case. He is currently lodged in Tihar jail.

The former MLA's name cropped up during the investigation of Kashmiri businessman Zahoor Watali, who the NIA had arrested for allegedly funding terrorist groups and separatists in the Kashmir valley.

The NIA had filed a charge sheet against several individuals, including Kashmiri separatist leader Yasin Malik, Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed and Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin in the case. Malik was awarded life imprisonment by a trial court in 2022 after he pleaded guilty to the charges.

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