Hurriyat Conference likely to be banned under UAPA: Report

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The two factions of Hurriyat conference are likely to banned under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention), Press Trust of India quoting officials reported.

They said a recent probe into the granting of MBBS seats to Kashmiri students by institutions in Pakistan indicates that the money collected from aspirants by some organisations, which were part of the Hurriyat Conference conglomerate, was being used for funding militant organisations in the Union Territory.

The officials said both the factions of the Hurriyat are likely to be banned under Section 3(1) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, or the UAPA, under which “if the Central Government is of opinion that any association is, or has become, an unlawful association, it may, by notification in the Official Gazette, declare such association to be unlawful.”

They said the proposal was mooted in accordance with the Centre’s policy of zero tolerance against militancy.

The officials said a probe into funding of militant groups indicated alleged involvement of pro-freedom leaders, including the members and cadres of the Hurriyat Conference who have been acting in connivance with active militants of proscribed terrorist organisations Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM), Dukhtaran-e-Millat (DeM) and Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT).

The cadres raised funds in the country and from abroad through various illegal channels, including hawala, for funding pro-freedom and militant activities in Jammu and Kashmir, they said.

The funds collected were used for causing disruption in the Kashmir Valley by way of pelting stones on forces, systematically burning schools, damaging public property and waging war against India as part of a criminal conspiracy, they claimed.

Supporting the case for banning the two factions of the Hurriyat Conference under the UAPA, the officials cited several cases related militant funding, including the one being probed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in which several of the conglomerate’s cadres were arrested and jailed.

Another case which is likely to be cited for banning the two Hurriyat Conference factions is the one against PDP youth leader Waheed-ur-Rahman Parra, who is alleged to have paid Rs 5 crore to the son-in-law of Geelani for keeping Kashmir in turmoil after the death of Hizbul Mujahideen militant commander Burhan Wani in 2016, the officials said.

The NIA has alleged that after the death of Wani, who was killed in a gunfight with the Army in July 2016, Parra got in touch with Altaf Ahmad Shah, alias Altaf Fantoosh, and asked him to ensure that the Valley was kept on the boil with widespread unrest and stone pelting.

Also, the Counter Intelligence (Kashmir), a branch of CID department of Jammu and Kashmir Police, registered a case in July last year following information that several unscrupulous persons, including some Hurriyat leaders, were hand in glove with some educational consultancies and are selling Pakistan-based MBBS seats and admission in other professional courses in various colleges and universities.

Citing investigation, the officials said that average cost of an MBBS seat in Pakistan was anything between Rs 10 lakh and Rs 12 lakh. In some cases, the fee was brought down on the intervention of Hurriyat leaders. Depending upon the political heft of the Hurriyat leader who intervened, concessions were extended to aspiring students, the officials said.

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