Masood Azhar, Hafiz Saeed, Dawood Ibrahim declared terrorists under new anti-terror law

Hafiz Saeed, Dawood Ibrahim, Masood Azhar have been designated as terrorists by the Indian government. (File)

Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar, Lashkar-e-Taiba founder (LeT) Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, 1993 Mumbai blasts mastermind Dawood Ibrahim and 26/11 terror attack accused Zaki-ur-Rehman-Lakhvi were declared terrorists by the Home Ministry under the new anti-terror law.

The government’s decision comes a month after an amendment to the Unlawful Activities Prevention Amendment (UAPA) Bill, 1967, which sought to designate an inpidual as a "terrorist", was passed by the Parliament. On August 2, the Rajya Sabha had passed the bill, paving the way for it to become law.

"And whereas, 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…And whereas, the Central government believes that Hafiz Muhammad Saeed is involved in terrorism and Hafiz Muhammad Saeed is to be notified as a terrorist under the said Act," a Home Ministry notification said.

The Home Ministry in a notification announced that Dawood Ibrahim, Masood Azhar and Hafiz Saeed have been designated as terrorists.

The UAPA Bill seeks to empower the Central government to designate an inpidual a terrorist if they are found committing, preparing for, promoting, or involved in an act of terror. A similar provision already exists in Part 4 and 6 of the legislation for organisations that can be designated as a terrorist organisation .

Home Minister Amit Shah, during a debate on the Bill in Lok Sabha, stressed on the need to designate inpiduals as terrorists to root out terrorism.

The designation of an inpidual as a global terrorist by the United Nations is associated with sanctions, including travel bans, freezing of assets and an embargo against procuring arms. The UAPA Bill, however, does not provide any such detail.

In naming Azhar an "inpidual terrorist", the government cited that the JeM chief was involved in attacks on the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly complex in 2001, attack on Parliament in 2001, attack on Pathankot airbase in 2016, attacks on BSF camp in Srinagar in 2017 and Pulwama attack on February 14.

The Home Ministry notification said Azhar was also designated as a global terrorist by the UN under the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1267 on May 1, 2019, and was declared as a proclaimed offender by the special judge (POTA), New Delhi.

On Hafiz Saeed, the Home Ministry said he was involved in various attacks, including Red Fort in 2000, a CRPF camp in Rampur (Uttar Pradesh), in Mumbai in 2008 in which 166 people were killed and the attack on a BSF convoy at Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir in 2015.

On LeT commander Lakhvi, the Ministry said he was involved in Red Fort attack in 2000, Rampur CRPF camp in 2008, Mumbai in 2008 and on a BSF convoy at Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir.

The ministry said Dawood ran an international underworld crime syndicate and was involved in perpetrating acts of terror, promoting religious fundamentalism, terror financing, arms smuggling, circulation of counterfeit currency, money laundering, narcotics, extortion and benami real estate business in India and abroad.

Dawood was also involved in assassination attempts on prominent personalities to create social disharmony and terrorise common man. It also said Dawood executed a series of bomb blasts along with his associates in Mumbai in March 1993, which resulted in deaths of 257 people and injured over 1000 others apart from the destruction of properties on a massive scale.

(with PTI inputs)