Tehreek-e-Hurriyat Offices’ Signboard Removed Amid Talk Of Ban

Srinagar: Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, the Hurriyat Conference faction led by Syed Ali Geelani, on Sunday removed its signboard at the group's head office at its leader's residence in Srinagar's Hyderpora area.

The development came amid indications that both the blocs of the separatist group could soon be banned by government of India.

"They themselves removed the boards fearing action," a senior government official told NDTV, adding that the ban would be under Section 3 (1) of the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Under this section of the Act, if the Central government is of the opinion that any association is, or has, become an unlawful association, it may be notified as unlawful.

"A proposal has been mooted as per the Centre's policy of zero tolerance for terrorism," the official said.

In June, Union Home Minister Amit Shah asked stakeholders operating in Kashmir Valley to keep a check on growing radicalisation. Following this, a number of raids were carried out in Jammu and Kashmir by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

To back its case for a ban, the Centre has annexed several cases being probed by NIA related to terror funding. Many second-rung cadres of both factions are in jail since 2017, according to the Union Home Ministry.

Among these are Altaf Ahmed Shah, son-in-law of Geelani, along with the latter's close aide Ayaz Akbar -- the faction's spokesperson -- businessman Zahoor Ahmed Watali, Peer Saifullah, and Shahid-ul-Islam.

The All-Party Hurriyat Conference came into existence in 1993 with 26 groups, including some pro-Pakistan and banned outfits such as the Jamaat-e-Islami, Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), and the Dukhtaran-e-Millat. It also included the People's Conference and the Awami Action Committee headed by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq.

In 2019, the Centre banned the Jamaat-e-Islami and the JKLF under UAPA.

The Jammu and Kashmir police recently arrested four separatist leaders, including some Hurriyat constituents, for "selling" Pakistani MBBS seats to Kashmiri students and using that money to support and fund militancy.

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