The Centre on Tuesday designated four operatives of two terror groups active in Kashmir as terrorists under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). The terrorists have been identified as Hizb-ul-Mujahideen operatives Showkat Ahmad Sheikh, Basit Ahmed Reshi and Imtiyaz Ahmed Kandoo, and Habibullah Malik of Lashkar-e-Taiba.
According to a notification issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), at least one of them is a Pakistani while others are of Kashmiri descent, and all operate from Pakistan.
According to the MHA notification, Sheikh alias Showkat Mochi is a native of Baramulla in Kashmir but is currently based in Pakistan. He, the MHA has claimed, is operating as the “chief launching commander of terror outfit Hizb-Ul-Mujahideen”, which is already proscribed under the UAPA.
“Sheikh is instrumental in spreading terror…involved in coordinating infiltration and recruitment of terrorists and execution of terror attacks owing to his deep network of associates in North Kashmir,” the notification said.
Kandoo, the MHA claimed, of Kraltang, Sopore in Jammu and Kashmir, but currently based in Pakistan, “has been involved in managing finances and supplying arms, ammunition to terrorists, besides narcotics smuggling”. Kandoo has been coordinating attacks on security forces and civilians…has been radicalising and motivating youths to join terrorist ranks to carry out terror activities in the Kashmir Valley,” the MHA said.
Reshi, a native of Yemberzalwari Shiva Dangerpora in Baramulla and currently based in Pakistan, has been notified a terrorist as he “is involved in subversive activities and coordinating target killings in Jammu and Kashmir…planned and executed a terror attack on police guard post of shrine Baba Ali Raina at Tajjaur Shariet Peth Astan in Sopore on the August 18, 2015, in which a police personnel and a civilian were killed…coordinates in recruitment and execution of terror attacks”. He manages arms and ammunition, finances terror activities and motivates youths to join terrorist ranks in the Valley, the MHA said.
The number of people designated as terrorists since 2019 when the UAPA was amended has now gone up to 42. Designating a person terrorist under the UAPA helps security agencies to block the finances available to the individual concerned and also restricts his movement in and out of the country. Before the 2019 amendment to the Act, only organisations could be designated as terrorist.
LeT operative Malik alias Sajid Jutt is a Pakistani national based in Kasur, and is said to be also associated with The Resistance Front (TRF). “Malik has been involved in radicalising Kashmiri youths and recruiting them for militancy through his network …Malik is the key handler of terrorists who carried out attack on Indian soldiers in Bhata Dhurian, Poonch…has been involved in drone dropping of arms and communication systems in Jammu region for terrorists,” the MHA said.
The MHA has claimed that Malik has created a network of hardcore militants and has masterminded multiple terrorist attacks in the Valley, including the fidayeen attack at Hyderpora in June 2013, and killing of Chadoora station house officer in December 2013.