New Delhi- Chief of Al-Umar Mujahideen militant group Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar alias ‘Mushtaq Latram’ has been designated as a “terrorist” under the stringent anti-terror law UAPA, a move which enables the security agencies to attach his or associates’ properties believed to be purchased from proceeds of crime.
With this, anyone staying in touch with him becomes an offender under the law.
Considered to be ruthless in the early 1990s, Zargar had broke JKLF and formed his own Al-Umar Mujahideen militant group.
He was one of the militants released in exchange for passengers of hijacked Indian Airlines plane IC-814 in 1999 besides Maulana Masood Azhar, the chief of Jaish-e-Mohammed, and Sheikh Omar, who killed American journalist Daniel Pearl who was working for The Wall Street Journal.
Zargar is the fourth individual to have been designated as a ”terrorist” by the Centre in the last one week and the 35th individual to have been declared a designated ‘terrorist’ by the government.
In a notification, the Union Home Ministry said, Zargar alias Latram, 52, belongs to Nowhatta in Srinagar and is the founder and chief commander of militant group Al-Umar-Mujahideen and had been affiliated with the Jammu-Kashmir Liberation Front.
Zargar is currently based in Pakistan where he had gone in the late 1980s to receive arms training.
The home ministry said Zargar has been running an incessant campaign from Pakistan to fuel militancy in Jammu and Kashmir.
“He has been involved in various terror crimes, including murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping, planning and execution of terrorist attacks and terror funding,” it noted.
The home ministry said “Zargar is a threat to peace, not only to India but around the world, with his contacts and proximity to radical terrorist groups like the Al-Qaeda and Jaish-e-Mohammed and the Central government believes that he is involved in terrorism and is to be notified as a terrorist under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.”
“Now, therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred by clause (a) of sub-section (1) of section 35 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, the Central government hereby makes the following in the Fourth Schedule to the said Act, after serial number 34 and entries relating thereto, the following serial number and entries shall be inserted, namely:- 35.” the notification said.
With this move, the government, through security agencies, would be able to attach his or his associates’ immoveable and moveable properties believed to have been purchased from proceeds of crimes.
On April 8, the government had designated Hafiz Talha Saeed, a key leader of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the son of 26/11 Mumbai attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed, a ”terrorist”.
Three days later, on April 11, Pakistani national Mohiuddin Aurangzeb Alamgir, who was involved in the suicide attack on a CRPF bus in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir in 2019, was designated as a ”terrorist”.
On April 12, Ali Kashif Jan, the Pakistani handler of the 2016 attack on Pathankot airbase, has been designated as a ”terrorist” by the government.
The Act empowers the Central government to notify the name of an individual in its Fourth Schedule if it believes that he is involved in terrorism.