The Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front or JKLF-Y, headed by Yasin Malik, was declared as an "unlawful association" by a tribunal of the Delhi High Court, the Centre said on Wednesday. The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) tribunal upheld that there was "sufficient credible material and grounds" to rule against the faction.
The NDA government in March 2019 had listed the organisation as an unlawful association, following which a tribunal, headed by Justice Chander Shekhar was constituted to adjudicate the same. The decision had come in the backdrop of the government's crackdown on "separatist" and militant activities in the restive region, soon after the terror attack in the Pulwama district which resulted in the death of at least 40 CRPF personnel in February.
While imposing the ban, the Centre said it was of the opinion that the JKLF is "in close touch with militant outfits" and is supporting extremism and militancy in Jammu and Kashmir and elsewhere. It said the JKLF claims "secession of a part of the Indian territory from the union" and supports terrorist and separatist groups fighting for this purpose.
The tribunal, in its order on 20 September, held that the activities of the faction are "disruptive in character, which threatens the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India".
"The Central government had sufficient credible material and grounds for taking action for declaring 'JKLF-Y' as an 'unlawful association'. It is held that there is 'sufficient cause' to confirm the notification of the act declaring 'JKLF-Y' to be an 'unlawful association'," Justice Shekhar stated in the order.
The order stated that the faction has been acting "in collusion with other similar groups to disrupt peace and harmony in Jammu and Kashmir."
To substantiate its contention before the tribunal, the Centre had submitted a list of 98 FIRs filed against the faction. The Ministry of Home Affairs, headed by Amit Shah in the second term of the Narendra Modi government, also reportedly said that "JKLF was responsible for the murder of four Indian Air Force personnel and abduction of Rubaiya Sayeed, daughter of the then Home Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed".
"A careful perusal of the FIRs brought on record makes it apparent that the association has been actively indulging in and supporting anti-national activities," Justice Shekhar stated. The tribunal observed that there is a sufficient noticeable and credible material including the FIRs coupled with corroborative intelligence inputs which justified the action taken by the government.
"Even in cases where FIRs are lodged for slogan shouting, the contents of the slogan are a direct affront to the sovereignty of the state and are undoubtedly anti-national ... such protests can certainly not be a part of any democratic process," the order stated.
It asserted that there is a significant difference in protesting on an issue and protesting for "territorial sovereignty". "There are statements attributed to Yasin Malik which are separatist in character and support extremism and militancy in Jammu and Kashmir. Such statements have the potential of instigating sentiments which ultimately become prejudicial to the territorial integrity and security of the country," it said.
The tribunal also rebutted the contentions put forth by the faction that the exercise of banning it is "vindictive in character or unconstitutional". Counsel for Malik argued that he has "never espoused the cause of secession and/or terrorism."
The Hindu reported, "He submitted that (Mr) Malik never advocated or indulged in activities which tend to directly or indirectly support extremism or militancy in Jammu and Kashmir. He said there had never been any statement from (Mr) Malik which is “anti-national in character or intended to disrupt the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India."
However, the court held that there was a "noticeable consistency in the organised manner of protest and the object of the protest," the report said.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Sep 26, 2019 14:23:58 IST