JeI ban will curb separatism, says MHA

The “sole” agenda of the government of India’s ban on Jamaat-e-Islami is to curb separatism in Jammu and Kashmir as the organisation has been the “brain” behind the All-Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) which, the investigating agencies claim, has been ideologically supporting Pakistan-sponsored militancy, said sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Sources said the JeI (J&K) has been “instrumental behind the APHC’s role in militant activities, especially in the Valley, with the support of Pakistan for the last three decades.”

“The ban on JeI (J&K) is to ensure complete non-functioning of the APHC as it has been the brain behind the separatist group,” said a Home Ministry official.

The ban would help the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and other agencies take action against the JeI (J&K), which has been providing “logistic support” and feeding “new ideas” to the APHC for spreading militancy in the Valley, under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), said the official.

The UAPA is aimed at prevention of unlawful activities and associations in the country.

Normally, the official said, the probe agencies or the police would have to go through legal documentations and collect “more strong evidence to prove the illegal activities of any organisation”.

The APHC, the official said, is a conglomerate of organisations with “separatist and militant leanings” and has been instrumental in “stone pelting and recruiting youth to join militancy through radicalization” in the Valley. The NIA has already registered a case against it besides arresting several separatist leaders.

The Home Ministry’s decision to ban the JeI (J&K) came after it received inputs that the Hurriyat has become active to increase the “overground workers” support on the JeI’s instructions for enhancing militant activities, not only in J&K but across the country, said the official.

Asked about the number of “overground workers,” another senior Home Ministry official told IANS it was not “as small” as it could be ignored and not “as big” as it couldn’t be controlled.

The JeI, banned on February 28 for five years for allegedly indulging in activities prejudicial to internal security and public order with the potential to disrupt the unity and integrity of the country, was proscribed first time in 1975 for two years by the J&K government. It was again banned by the central government in 1990, which continued till December 1993.

The official said after the ban on JeI, the government now has full authority to check the “balance sheets, account details, activities and supporting figures” of the organisation. “It can paralyse the Hurriyat Conference”.

The Home Ministry sources said a sizeable section of JeI cadres have overtly worked for militant organisations, especially the HizbulMuzahideen (HM), one of the biggest militant groups active in J&K. The HM is one of the main organisations responsible for propagation of separatist and radical ideology in the Valley, the sources said.

A ministry document, however, has clarified that the JeI has nothing to do with Jamaat-e-Islami. “In 1953, the JeI enacted its own constitution. It is responsible for formation of the HM. It has been providing all kinds of support to the HM in terms of recruitment, funding, shelter and logistics. In a way, the HM is the militant wing of JeI (J&K).”

“The HM, with the support of Pakistan, is spearheading militant activities in Kashmir and JeI is largely responsible for HM’s secessionist activities. The JeI is opposed to the democratic electoral process and has been pursuing the agenda of setting up an independent theocratic Islamic state by destabilising the government establishment,” said the document.

The HM’s strong presence in the JeI’s areas of influence was a clear reflection of the separatist and radical ideology of the group, it said. The JeI was collecting funds in the name of religious activities and using it for anti-national separatist activities, it added.