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Thursday, Sep 19, 2019

Jaish chief Masood Azhar, Lashkar’s Hafiz Saeed and Dawood Ibrahim designated as terrorists under anti-terror law

These are the first designations of individual as terrorists after the government passed a bill in July seeking to designate a person (as opposed to an organisation) suspected to have terror links as a terrorist .

india Updated: Sep 04, 2019 23:40 IST
Neeraj Chauhan
Neeraj Chauhan
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Masood Azhar-led Jaish was behind the 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament and the Pulwama terror attack earlier this year, in which 40 jawans lost their lives
Masood Azhar-led Jaish was behind the 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament and the Pulwama terror attack earlier this year, in which 40 jawans lost their lives(REUTERS)

A month after Parliament amended an anti-terror law to enable individuals (as opposed to organisations) to be designated as terrorists, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government on Wednesday declared four of the most wanted men in India as terrorists, arming investigating agencies with additional powers to act against them.

The four individuals are Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Maulana Masood Azhar, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder Hafiz Muhammed Saeed, LeT commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, the co-mastermind of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks; and fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.

JeM claimed responsibility for the February 14 Pulwama suicide car bombing that killed 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers and brought India and Pakistan to the brink of war. LeT masterminded the 2008 Mumbai attacks that left 166 people dead. Dawood Ibrahim is wanted in connection with the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts that left 257 people dead.

The four men are the first to be declared individual terrorists under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2019, approved by Parliament. Designating them as individual terrorists gives additional powers to the investigation agencies, particularly the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which can seize properties linked to a terror probe without taking permission from state police. The four have already been designated as global terrorists by the United Nations.

Opposition parties have criticised the new law, whose constitutional validity has been challenged by the Association for Protection of Civil Rights in the Supreme Court through a public interest litigation. Critics argue that the new law gives unfettered powers to investigating agencies.

According a gazette notification issued by the government on Wednesday, the ministry of home affairs cited a series of terror attacks in which Masood Azhar was involved, including one on the Jammu and Kashmir assembly complex in 2001; an attack on Parliament in the same year; the 2016 Pathankot air base attack; attacks on a BSF camp in Srinagar in 2017 and bombing of the CRPF bus in Pulwama on February 14.

It said Azhar was designated a global terrorist under the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1267 on May 1, 2019, and declared a proclaimed offender by a special judge (Prevention of Terrorist Activities), New Delhi.

On Saeed, the notification said he was involved in various attacks, including one at the Red Fort in 2000, a CRPF camp in Rampur (Uttar Pradesh) in 2008; the Mumbai terror strike in 2008 and the attack on a Border Security Force (BSF) convoy in Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir in 2015. Saeed, also the founder of Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD), was designated a global terrorist on December 10, 2008.

LeT commander Lakhvi, the government said, was involved in various attacks including the Red Fort attack in 2000, Rampur CRPF camp in 2008; Mumbai in 2008 and on the BSF convoy at Udhampur . Lakhvi was designated as a global terrorist on December 10, 2008.

Dawood Ibrahim, the notification said, runs an international underworld crime syndicate and is involved in perpetrating acts of terror, promoting religious fundamentalism, terror financing, arms smuggling, circulation of counterfeit currency, money laundering, narcotics, extortion and benami real estate business in India and abroad. He was also involved in assassination attempts on prominent personalities, it said.

Dawood Ibrahim was designated as a global terrorist on November 3, 2003. It also said Dawood executed the series of bomb blasts along with his associates in Mumbai in March 1993 that injured more than 1,000 people apart from killing 257 and causing widespread destruction.

First Published: Sep 04, 2019 15:42 IST