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In fresh crackdown on terror, government bans Lashkar offshoot TRF after Rajouri carnage

TRF has been involved in carrying out propaganda of terror activities, recruitment of terrorists, infiltration of terrorists, and smuggling of weapons and narcotics from Pakistan into Jammu and Kashmir

A terror group, which calls itself ‘The Resistance Fighters’ (TRF) and has been issuing threats to the members of the minority Hindu community rehabilitated in the Kashmir valley under the Prime Minister’s special recruitment package, has been banned by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in India under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. 

The MHA’s order has been notified on Thursday, a day after it declared Aijaz Ahmad Ahangar aka Abu Usman Al-Kashmiri, a resident of Nawakadal Srinagar and operating in Afghanistan since long, as an ‘individual terrorist’.

Ahangar is the son-in-law of the former Tehreekul Mujahideen ideologue Abdul Gani Dar aka Abdullah Gazali who was arrested by Police in the assassination of the Salafist moderate Maulana Showkat Shah but was subsequently killed by unidentified persons in the same mosque in the Maisuma neighbourhood of Srinagar where Shah had been done to death in a bomb blast.

The MHA has also declared Mohammad Amin aka Abu Khubaib of Jammu, who has been allegedly coordinating the operations of the Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) in the Jammu region, as an ‘individual terrorist’.

An official order declaring the TRF as a ‘terrorist organization’ attributed a series of terror activities to the outfit. The TRF, according to the Police and Intelligence agencies, is an offshoot of the Pakistan-based LeT which was created after a ban on the LeT and remarkably mobilised after the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019.

The MHA dossier said the TRF has been recruiting youths into militancy through online mediums for the furtherance of terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir. “The outfit has also been involved in carrying out propaganda on terror activities,” the order said. It said the TRF is also involved in the recruitment and infiltration of terrorists and smuggling of weapons and narcotics from Pakistan into Jammu and Kashmir for fanning terrorism.

“The TRF is involved in psychological operations on Social Media platforms for inciting people of Jammu and Kashmir to join terrorist outfits against the Indian State,” the MHA order said. It pointed out that Sheikh Sajjad Gul, TRF’s commander, has been designated as a terrorist under the Fourth Schedule of the UAPA.

Asserting that activities of the TRF are detrimental to the national security and sovereignty of India, the order said that a large number of cases had been registered against the members and associates of the TRF.

“The Central Government believes that the outfit is involved in terrorism and it has committed and participated in various acts of terror across the country,” the order read.

The TRF came into existence in 2019 as a front of the LeT, a proscribed organisation listed at Serial Number 5 of the First Schedule under the UAPA.

The ban on the TRF has come weeks after the organisation issued a hit list of the migrants rehabilitated under PM’s special package in Kashmir through the proscribed blog KashmirFight. It has been also naming media persons and government functionaries as “paid agents, traitors, stooges and collaborators of India” and threatening them with death. Such hit lists have gone viral in social media since 2018-19.

The TRF has also been instrumental in issuing threats to various other people with a view to create fear psychosis in the Valley.

The Union Government has also designated Mohammed Amin alias Abu Khubaib, who belongs to Jammu and Kashmir but currently lives in Pakistan, as an individual terrorist.

He is acting as the LeT’s launching commander and has developed a deep association with cross-border agencies while playing a key role to revive and accelerate terrorist activities in the Jammu region.

Khubaib has been involved in coordinating terrorist attacks, supply of arms or weapons and explosives, and terror financing in Jammu and Kashmir from across the border.

For all his terror activities, MHA has designated him as an ‘individual terrorist’ under the UAPA days after the killing of six civilians in the Dhangri village of Jammu’s Rajouri district.

The Government can seize and attach properties, bank accounts and other assets, movable as well as immovable, of the cadre of banned outfit. Besides, the administration can explore various options to crush activities of the banned outfits and individuals.

With this, the Union Home Ministry has declared two individuals and an outfit as terrorists during last two days.

Also Read: Rajouri terror attacks: A calculated mischief to trigger communal strife