Srinagar: The US government on Wednesday designated frontline Kashmiri militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) as ‘foreign terrorist organisation’, the move which seeks to deny it the resources it needs “to carry out terrorist attacks”.
A statement issued by the spokesman of the US Department of State in Washington said that the HM was designated as a ‘foreign terrorist organizations’ under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. In this connection, a formal order as “Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT)” was issued under section 1(b) of Executive Order (E.O.) 13224.
“These designations seek to deny HM the resources it needs to carry out terrorist attacks. Among other consequences, all of HM’s property and interests in property subject to US jurisdiction are blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with the group”, the statement said.
The statement added that the HM, formed in 1989, is one of the largest and oldest militant groups operating in Kashmir.
“Hizbul Mujahideen is led by Specially Designated Global Terrorist Mohammad Yusuf Shah, also known as Syed Salahuddin. Hizbul Mujahideen has claimed responsibility for several attacks, including the April 2014 explosives attack in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, which injured 17 people,” the statement said.
It further said, “Today’s action notifies the US public and the international community that HM is a terrorist organization. Terrorism designations expose and isolate organizations and individuals, and deny them access to the US financial system. Moreover, designations can assist the law enforcement activities of US agencies and other governments”.
The US State Department had in June 2017 declared the PoK-based HM chief Muhammad Yusuf Shah alias Syed Salahuddin a ‘Specially Designated Global Terrorist’. He is a resident of Soibug in Jammu and Kashmir's central district of Budgam and crossed over to the other side of the Line of Control (LoC) in early 1990s.
The HM and Kashmiri separatist political parties had sharply reacted to it saying the move was “highly unjustifiable and regrettable”.
An alliance of key separatist leaders- Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik- had said that Jammu and Kashmir is a “disputed territory which was occupied by Indian illegally in 1947.”
They had added, “Since the people of the State are peacefully engaged in their struggle for freedom through self-determination as promised to them by United Nations and supported by the US, the United Kingdom and the rest of the world community (sic)”.
It further said, “Whereas it is incumbent upon the international community including the US to honour this commitment made to the people of J&K that they would be granted the right of self-determination to decide their future and seek the settlement of the dispute which is bleeding Kashmiris each day and has led to their genocide under brutal Indian occupation besides making J&K the world’s highest militarized zone with over eight lake Indian forces stationed here to keep the people captive”.
The alliance had claimed that the people of Kashmir are “peacefully and resiliently resisting this occupation by a mighty military power and demanding their just right, despite the fact that all means and methods of resistance are barred to them by force”.
It had said, “Their hope is that the international community which acknowledged and backed their legitimate right to self-determination in accordance with internationally accepted democratic norms and justice will always support their just struggle and eventually truth and justice will prevail”.
The Kashmir Valley had observed a one-day shutdown against the US move in response to a call issued by the alliance....