The Hurriyat Conference Photograph:( AFP )
The officials said both the Hurriyat camps are likely to be banned under Section 3(1) of the UAPA, in 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.
Taking a tough stand against organisations with ‘separatist’ affiliations intent to foment trouble” in the Jammu and Kashmir valley, the Indian government is considering banning both the factions of the All Party Hurriyat Conference under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), Indian media reported citing unnamed Indian officials.
This comes after a probe conducted by the government officials revealed that some organisations that were part of the Hurriyat Conference used to collect money from Kashmiri students in lieu of securing MBBS seats in Pakistani institutions, and using that money to fund terror organisations in the Union Territory.
The officials said both the Hurriyat camps are likely to be banned under Section 3(1) of the UAPA, in 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.”
During the probe, the officials said they found about the alleged involvement of members of the Hurriyat Conference with proscribed terrorist organisations Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM), Dukhtaran-e-Millat (DeM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
Constituted in 1993, the Hurriyat Conference consisted of 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 separatist organisation split into two factions in 2005 with the moderate group being led by the Mirwaiz and the hard-line headed by Syed Ali Shah Geelani, until he quit the party in June 2020 due to health reasons.
Meanwhile, there were some reports that the Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, the extremist faction of the Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani, on Sunday removed its signboard at the group's head office at its leader’s residence in Srinagar's Hyderpora area.
The Centre’s “zero-tolerance” policy towards terrorism comes in the backdrop of Union Home Minister Amit Shah asking the stakeholders in the Kashmir valley to monitor growing radicalisation.
Subsequently, a series of raids were conducted by the National Investigative Agency (NIA) in the Union Territory where several of the conglomerate’s cadres were arrested and jailed.
Many of the second-rung cadres of both the factions are in jail since 2017, the officials said.
Among those in jail are Altaf Ahmed Shah, the son-in-law of Geelani; businessman Zahoor Ahmed Watali; Geelani's close aide Ayaz Akbar, who is also the spokesperson of the hardline separatist organisation Tehreek-e-Hurriyat; Peer Saifullah; Shahid-ul-Islam, spokesperson of the moderate Hurriyat Conference; Mehrajuddin Kalwal; Nayeem Khan; and Farooq Ahmed Dar alias 'Bitta Karate'.
In 2019, the government banned the pro-Pakistani and pro-separatist organisation Jamat-E-Islami, while the organisation led by Asiya Andrabi Dukhtaran-e-Millat, led by, and Yasin Malik’s JKLF were banned in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
(With inputs from agencies)