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Thursday, December 8, 2022

Kashmir: Who is Mushtaq Latram and why has he been designated as “terrorist” by India

Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar, who is accused of being involved in a series of militant attacks in Jammu and Kashmir and was one of the released militants in the hijacking of Indian Airlines flight IC-814 in 1999, has been designated as a “terrorist” by the Indian government.

He is the fourth individual to have been designated as a “terrorist” by the Narendra Modi government in the last week.

In a notification, the Union Home Ministry said, Zargar alias Latram, 52, belongs to Nowhatta in Srinagar and is the founder and chief commander of the group Al-Umar-Mujahideen and had been affiliated with Jammu-Kashmir Liberation Front.

Zargar is currently based in Pakistan.

He had gone to Pakistan to obtain illegal arms training and was one of the militants released in exchange for the hostages during the 1999 hijacking of Indian Airlines flight IC-814.

The home ministry said Zargar has been running an incessant campaign from Pakistan to fuel militancy in Jammu and Kashmir.

The Indian home ministry said Zargar is a threat to peace, not only to India but across the world, with his contacts and proximity to radical groups like the Al-Qaeda and Jaish-e-Mohammed and the central government believes that Zargar alias Latram is involved in militancy and he is to be notified as a “terrorist” under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.

He is the 35th individual to have been declared a designated “terrorist” by the government.

“Now, therefore, in the exercise of the powers conferred by clause (a) of sub-section (1) of section 35 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, the Central Government hereby makes the following in the Fourth Schedule to the said Act, after serial number 34 and entries relating thereto, the following serial number and entries shall be inserted, namely:- 35.” the notification said.

On April 8, the government had designated Hafiz Talha Saeed, a key leader of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the son of 26/11 Mumbai attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed, a “terrorist”.

Three days later, on April 11, Pakistani national Mohiuddin Aurangzeb Alamgir, who was involved in the attack on a CRPF bus in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir in 2019, was designated as a “terrorist”.

On April 12, Ali Kashif Jan, the Pakistani handler of the 2016 attack on Pathankot airbase, has been designated as a “terrorist” by the government.

The Act empowers the Central government to notify the name of an individual in its Fourth Schedule if it believes that he is involved in “terrorism”.

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