Jailed Kashmiri Leader Engineer Rashid Allowed by NIA to Take Oath

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has consented to the jailed Kashmiri leader Engineer Abdul Rashid Sheikh taking his oath as a Member of Parliament. The final decision now rests with a Delhi court, which is expected to issue an order on the conditions of his oath-taking tomorrow.

Engineer Rashid, who won the Baramulla seat as an Independent candidate in the recent Lok Sabha elections, has been imprisoned in Tihar Jail since 2019. Charged by the NIA in a terror-funding case, his detention prevented him from taking his oath alongside his peers in the 18th Lok Sabha. Despite his imprisonment, Rashid achieved a remarkable victory, defeating former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah by a margin of over 200,000 votes.

On Saturday, Additional Sessions Judge Kiran Gupta instructed the NIA to respond to Mr Rashid’s application for interim bail to facilitate his oath-taking. The court directed the anti-terror agency to file its reply by 1 July. Advocate Vikhyat Oberoi, representing Mr Rashid, argued that his client’s electoral victory signifies a strong democratic mandate from the people of Baramulla. “He won with a vast majority. People love him and want him to fight for their rights in Parliament democratically,” Mr Oberoi stated.

Mr Rashid’s legal team drew parallels with a similar case involving AAP MP Sanjay Singh, suggesting that Mr Rashid, who is under court custody, should be allowed to take his oath. They argued that the NIA’s role should be minimal in facilitating this process, referencing the procedural handling of Mr Singh’s case where court custody did not obstruct parliamentary participation.

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