Centre Likely to Ban Both Factions of Hurriyat Conference Under UAPA for ‘Funding Terror’

A ban under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act may be imposed on both factions of the secessionist conglomerate Hurriyat Conference, which has been spearheading the separatist movement in Jammu and Kashmir for over two decades.

A recent probe into the granting of MBBS seats to Kashmiri students by institutions in Pakistan indicates that the money collected from aspirants by some organisations, which were part of the Hurriyat Conference conglomerate, was being used for funding terror organisations in the Union territory.

Both the factions of the Hurriyat are likely to be banned under Section 3(1) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, or the UAPA, under which “if the Central Government is of opinion that any association is, or has become, an unlawful association, it may, by notification in the Official Gazette, declare such association to be unlawful.”

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

The separatist conglomerate broke into two factions in 2005 with the moderate group being led by the Mirwaiz and the hardline faction headed by Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

So far, the Centre has banned the Jamaat-e-Islami and the JKLF under the UAPA. The ban was imposed in 2019.

Supporting the case for banning the two factions of the Hurriyat Conference under the UAPA, the officials cited several cases related to terror funding, including the one being probed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in which several of the conglomerate’s cadres were arrested and jailed.

Many of the second-rung cadres of both the factions are in jail since 2017.

Another case, which is likely to be cited for banning the two Hurriyat Conference factions, is the one against PDP youth leader Waheed-ur-Rahman Parra, who is alleged to have paid Rs 5 crore to the son-in-law of Geelani for keeping Kashmir in turmoil after the death of Hizbul Mujahideen terror commander Burhan Wani in 2016, the officials said.

The NIA has alleged that after the death of Wani, who was killed in an encounter with the Army in July 2016, Parra got in touch with Altaf Ahmad Shah, alias Altaf Fantoosh, and asked him to ensure that the valley was kept on the boil with widespread unrest and stone-pelting.

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Author: Shirley