Sunday 9 May 2021
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MHA declares 18 more individuals as ‘designated terrorists’ under UAPA

The government on 27 October formally designated 18 individuals wanted in India for terror attacks as terrorists under a new clause of India’s anti-terror law. The 18 terrorists based in Pakistan include those involved in terrorist attacks in India including the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, IC 814 hijacking, Pathankot airbase attack and the Pulwama suicide bombing.

This is the third batch of terrorists designated under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967 that was amended in August 2019 to include a provision for designating an individual - and not just a group - as a terrorist.

Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar, Lashkar-e-Taiba co-founder Hafiz Saeed, Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Zakir-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and underworld don Dawood Ibrahim were the first to be designated last year under this law. In July, the Union home ministry had designated another nine individuals associated with the Khalistan separatist movement driven by Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI).

A Union home ministry statement said the Modi government had reinforced the commitment to strengthen national security and its policy of zero tolerance to terrorism by issuing the fresh list of 18 designated terrorists.

Some of the names on the list include 26/11 mastermind Sajid Mir; Abdur Rehman Makki, the brother-in-law of Lashkar chief Saeed; Abdul Rauf Asghar, the brother of Jaish chief Masood Azhar; Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) chief Syed Salahuddin; Indian Mujahideen (IM) founder Riyaz Bhatkal and his brother Iqbal; Dawood Ibrahim’s right hand man Chhota Shakeel, as well as Tiger Memon and Javed Chikna.

In September 2019, Masood Azhar, Hafiz Saeed, Dawood Ibrahim and Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi were declared ‘individual terrorists’ while nine Khalistani terrorists, including the US-based head of Sikhs For Justice Gurpatwant Singh, were designated so in July this year.

According to a statement by the ministry of home affairs (MHA) on 27 October, “Under the strong and iron-willed leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Central government had amended the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 in August 2019, to include the provision of designating an individual as a terrorist. Prior to this amendment, only organisations could be designated as terrorist organisations. Union Home Minister Amit Shah has unequivocally reaffirmed the nation’s resolve to fight terrorism.”

“Reinforcing the commitment of strengthening national security and its policy of zero tolerance to terrorism, the Modi government today has declared the following eighteen more individuals as designated terrorists,” it said.

While Mir is the main accused in the 26/11 attacks, Abdul Rauf Asghar, allegedly on the directions of the Pakistan army and ISI, has carried out multiple attacks on Indian security forces in the last few years, including in Pathankot and Pulwama, as well as on Parliament on 13 December, 2001.

Nine others designated as ‘individual terrorists’ on 27 October are commander of LeT operations in Jammu & Kashmir and accused in the 26/11 Mumbai Terror attack Yusuf Muzammil alias Hurreira Bhai; deputy chief of LeT’s financial arm Falah-i-lnsaniyat Foundation Shahid Mehmood; Pakistan-based terrorist involved in the 2002 Akshardham Temple attack and the 2005 suicide attack on Task Force office in Hyderabad Farhatullah Ghori alias Abu Sufiyan; Ibrahim Athar, Masood Azhar’s cousin who was involved in the hijacking of the Indian Airlines Flight No. lC-814 on 24 December, 1999 (the Kandahar hijacking case), and was the key conspirator in the Indian Parliament terrorist attack; Yusuf Azhar, another IC-814 hijacking accused; Shahid Latif, a JeM commander of Sialkot sector involved in sending JeM terrorists into India; Ghulam Nabi Khan, the deputy supreme of Hizbul Mujahideen (HM); Zaffar Hussain Bhat, the deputy chief of Hizbul Mujahideen; and D Company man Mohammad Anis Shaikh who was involved in the Bombay serial blast case, 1993, and was responsible for the supply of arms, ammunition and hand grenades.

“These individuals are involved in various acts of terrorism from across the border and have been relentless in their nefarious efforts of destabilising the country,” the MHA said.

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