Terrorism is an evil affecting the life and liberty of people and the growth of the nation in all respects, Kerala High Court said while refusing to suspend the sentence of three persons convicted of attempting to travel to Syria to join ISIS.
No religion propagates terrorism or hatred but some fanatics or religious fundamentalists have distorted the views of religion for spreading messages of terrorism and hatred, the court said.
A bench of Justice Alexander Thomas and Justice Sophy Thomas refused to suspend the sentence and grant bail to the trio — Midlaj, Abdul Razak and Hamsa — considering the gravity of the offence prima facie proved against them even though they have undergone a major portion of their sentence.
“Terrorism is an evil affecting the life and liberty of people. It affects the growth of the nation in all respects. In fact, no religion propagates terrorism or hatred.”
“But, unfortunately, some fanatics or religious fundamentalists have distorted the views of religion, for spreading messages of terrorism and hatred, without realising the amount of damage it is doing to the society as well as to the country as a whole,” the high court said.
The court said in its order that innocent youth attracted by the call of terror organisations fall prey to violence and anti-national activities, destroying the tranquillity in society, unmindful of the freedom, liberty and safety of their fellow beings, and the integrity of the nation.
It noted that the application of the convicts was to be considered with seriousness as they were acting against the security and integrity of the nation and also the liberty and freedom of citizens.
“Considering the gravity of the offence prima facie proved against the applicants/appellants, though they have undergone (a) major portion of their sentence, we are not inclined to suspend their sentence and to release them on bail at present,” the court said in its February 10 order.
According to the prosecution, the accused persons, six in number, attempted to join the terror outfit for indulging in violent “jihad” as part of waging war against Asiatic powers at peace with the Government of India.
Midlaj and Razak were intercepted by Turkish authorities when they were trying to cross over into Syria and deported to India. Hamsa was arrested after he cancelled a ticket to leave India after learning that another accused in the same case was arrested from Mangaluru airport.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) told the court that Hamsa was one of the “masterminds in teaching ISIS/Daish ideology in Kerala, indoctrinated and recruited youngsters into the proscribed terrorist organisation, besides motivating and sending them to the Islamic State”.
They were arrested on October 25, 2017, and convicted on July 15, 2022.
The accused contended that since set-off was allowed for the period of remand during the trial, a major portion of their sentence was already over and the period remaining was less than two years.
They claimed that the prosecution failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt and there was every chance for them to succeed in the appeal. They sought to suspend the sentence and release on bail or else the appeals may become infructuous.
The high court noted that the nature of the offence alleged against the convicts was “very serious in nature”.