New Delhi: The Modi government Friday banned the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), headed by the prominent separatist leader Yasin Malik.
The organisation has been banned under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), with the government accusing it of “illegaly funnelling funds for fomenting terrorism” and blaming it for the killing of Kashmiri Pandits in 1989 leading to their exodus from the Valley”.
The JKLF is the second organisation to be banned under the UAPA within a month, after the Jamaat-e-Islami.
The body for ‘independence’
The JKLF was founded by Amanullah Khan and Mohammad Maqbool Bhat in 1977. Both had by then been working closely towards the “liberation” of Kashmir from India and Pakistan.
As such, the JKLF’s core demand is complete independence of Jammu and Kashmir including reunification of both sides of Kashmir.
Even before the JKLF was formed, Bhat had already gained notoriety, having been accused of being involved in the hijack of the Indian Airlines Fokker aircraft Ganga, which was flown to Lahore. He was then a part of the National Liberation Front (NLF).
Khan, on the other hand, is the father of Asma Lone, wife of separatist-turned-politician Sajjad Lone.
In 1985, Bhat was hanged in Tihar for the alleged kidnapping and killing of an Indian diplomat, Ravindra Mhatre, who was the assistant high commissioner in Birmingham, UK.
Five years after he was hanged, the JKLF launched an armed insurgent movement against the government in 1989.
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The ceasefire call
The JKLF declared a ceasefire in 1994 and since then, its current chairman Yasin Malik claims to have adopted “Gandhian” means of non-violent struggle to achieve its goals.
Yasin, however, was one of the militants accused of kidnapping Rubaiya Sayeed, the daughter of the then Home Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, in 1989. Rubaiya was abducted by Kashmiri militants days after Mufti was sworn in as the union home minister. She was released after five days in exchange for five Kashmiri militants belonging to the JKLF.