MHA Extends Ban on J&K Jamaat-e-Islami by Five More Years

Srinagar: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has extended its ban on Jamaat-e-Islami, Jammu and Kashmir by five more years, asserting that the decision has been prompted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s, ‘zero tolerance policy’ towards terrorism and separatism.

Union Home Minister, Amit Shah, on Tuesday wrote on microblogging site ‘X’, “Pursuing PM @narendramodi Ji’s policy of zero tolerance against terrorism and separatism the government has extended the ban on Jamaat-e-Islami, Jammu Kashmir for five years”. He added, “The organisation is found continuing its activities against the security, integrity and sovereignty of the nation”.

The right-wing socio-political organisation was declared as an “unlawful association” and banned for a period of five years by the MHA on February 28, 2019 on the plea that its activities are “prejudicial to internal security and public order”.

The MHA had said that the move was made also because of the fact that the Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) is the main organisation responsible for the propagation of separatist and radical ideology in the state particularly Kashmir Valley. The decision had come days after more than 250 of its activists including the entire leadership were arrested by the police from different parts of the Valley. The party’s leadership and most other prominent members continue to be incarcerated whereas various law enforcing agencies including the J&K State Intelligence Agency (SIA) have confiscated hundreds of is properties across the Union Territory “in consonance with the government’s policy of zero tolerance towards anti-State activities” since.

Mr. Shah said on Tuesday, “Anyone threatening the security of the nation will face ruthless measures.”

The MHA had while justifying its decision to ban the JeI said that it still has the potential to disrupt the unity and integrity of the country. It had asserted that if the party’s activities are not curbed immediately, it is likely to “escalate its subversive activities including an attempt to carve out an Islamic State out of the territory of Union of India”, continue advocating the secession of Jammu and Kashmir, and propagate “anti-national and separatist” sentiments.

However, the opposition parties had questioned the wisdom behind the Centre’s move. Former chief minister and president of Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) Mehbooba Mufti had said, “Democracy is a battle of ideas; crackdown followed by banning of Jamaat-e-Islami (JK) is condemnable. Another example of the high handedness and muscular approach of the Government of India to deal with the political issue of J&K”.

She had asked, “Why is the Government of India so uncomfortable with Jamaat-e- Islami? Radicalised Hindu groups representing fringe elements are given carte blanche to spread misinformation & vitiate the atmosphere. But an organization that has worked tirelessly for Kashmiris is banned. Is being anti BJP anti national now?”

JeI, J&K is an independent organisation-separate from Jamaat-e-Islamic Hind and Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan. It supports the demand of plebiscite in J&K and is known for its pro-Pakistan leaning. In 1987, it was the main driving force behind the formation of Muslim United Front (MUF) which fought State Assembly elections against the NC-Congress combine.

It is said that the elections were rigged in favour of the ruling party leading to many of those associated with the MUF to turn to the gun. One of them was Muhammad Yusuf Shah who later became known as Syed Salahuddin, the ‘supreme commander’ of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen and chief of United Jihad Council, the alliance of pro-Pakistani militant outfits.

The JeI, J&K, formed in 1942, was banned during the Emergency and later also during the heyday of militancy in J&K. It, however, distanced from militancy in 1997 and subsequently split with separatist patriarch Syed Ali Shah Geelani with likeminded Jamaat cadres forming his own group called J&K Tehrik-e-Hurriyat. The MHA had in December last year declared the Tehrik-e-Hurriyat too as an “unlawful association” and banned it for a period of five years under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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