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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

India may ban both factions of Hurriyat under anti-terror law: report

A ban under India’s controversial Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act may be imposed on both factions of the resistance conglomerate Hurriyat Conference which has been spearheading the Azaadi movement in Jammu and Kashmir for over two decades, officials told Press Trust of India on Sunday.

They said a recent probe into the granting of MBBS seats to Kashmiri students by institutions in Pakistan indicates that the money collected from aspirants by some organisations which were part of the Hurriyat Conference conglomerate was being used for funding militant organisations.

The officials said both the factions of the Hurriyat are likely to be banned under Section 3(1) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, or the UAPA, under which “if the Central Government is of opinion that any association is, or has become, an unlawful association, it may, by notification in the Official Gazette, declare such association to be unlawful.” They said the proposal was mooted in accordance with the India’s policy of zero tolerance against militancy.

The Hurriyat Conference came into existence in 1993 with 26 groups, including some pro-Pakistan and banned outfits such as the Jamaat-e-Islami, JKLF and the Dukhtaran-e-Millat. It also included the People’s Conference and the Awami Action Committee headed by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq.

The conglomerate broke into two factions in 2005 with the one group being led by the Mirwaiz and the other headed by Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

So far, India has banned the Jamaat-e-Islami and the JKLF under the UAPA. The ban was imposed in 2019.

The officials said a probe into funding of militant groups indicated alleged involvement of resistance leaders, including the members and cadres of the Hurriyat Conference who have been acting in connivance with active militants of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

The cadres raised funds in India and from abroad through various illegal channels, including hawala, for funding resistance activities in Jammu and Kashmir, they said.

The funds collected were used for causing disruption in the Kashmir Valley by way of pelting stones on forces, systematically burning schools, damaging public property and waging war against India as part of a criminal conspiracy, they claimed.

Many of the second-rung cadres of both the factions are in jail since 2017, they said.

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