New Delhi, September 4: Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar, Hafiz Saeed of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), his deputy Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and underworld don Dawood Ibrahim who planned and executed the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts are the first four persons designated as “terrorists” under the anti-terror law passed by Parliament on August 2.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued a gazette notification declaring the four as ‘terrorists’ under clause (a) of sub-section (1) of section 35 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967.
Home Minister Amit Shah said in the Rajya Sabha on August 2 “it was important to identify terrorists and not just organisations.”
The UAPA was first amended in 2004, then in 2008 and in 2013. The 2004 amendment was to ban organisations for terror activities, under which 34 outfits, including the LeT and the JeM were banned.
To designate Azhar, the MHA mentioned five terror cases, including the February 14 Pulwama attack, where 40 CRPF personnel were killed.
“And whereas, Maulana Masood Azhar is accused in various cases registered and being investigated by the National Investigation Agency and charge sheet had been filed against him in Pathankot air base attack case; And whereas, Red Corner Notices No. A-1086/7-2004 and A-4367/5-2016 have been issued against Azhar…..the Central Government believes that Maulana Masood Azhar is involved in terrorism and Maulana Masood Azhar is to be notified as a terrorist under the said Act,” a notification issued by the MHA said.
Hafiz Saeed has been designated as a terrorist for his involvement in four cases — Red Fort attack (2000), Rampur attack (2008), 26/11 Mumbai attack (2008) and attack on a BSF convoy at Udhampur in Jammu & Kashmir (2015).
“And whereas, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed is accused in various cases registered and being investigated by the NIA which inter-alia include Jammu and Kashmir terror conspiracy and terror funding case and Dukhtaran-E-Millat case and charge sheet had been filed against him in Headley case (26/11 Mumbai terror attack),” the notification said.
Lakhvi has been designated as a terrorist for his involvement in four cases, including 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.
The government had said that the first ones to be designated on a priority basis would be the Pakistan-based terrorists. The designations were in alignment with laws in the European Union (EU) countries, the U.S.A., China and Israel and even in Pakistan and Sri Lanka, an official said.
Opposition parties have raised concern over the law, saying it could also be used against political opponents and civil society activists who spoke against the government may be branded as “terrorists. (Courtesy: The Hindu)