ISI’s poster boy Masarat Alam in Kashmir gets banned

| Updated: 28 December, 2023 12:56 pm IST
Muslim League Jammu Kashmir-Masarat Alam banned in Kashmir

SRINAGAR: On Wedenesday, the Centre banned the Muslim League Jammu Kashmir-Masarat Alam faction (MLJK-MA), which has been involved in anti-national and secessionist activities in the union territory and supporting terrorist activities.

Announcing the ban on the MLJK-MA under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Home Minister Amit Shah tweeted, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi government’s message is loud and clear that anyone acting against the unity, sovereignty, and integrity of the nation will not be spared and face the full wrath of the law.”

According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, the objectives of the Muslim League Jammu Kashmir (Masarat Alam faction) are to “attain freedom for Jammu and Kashmir from India, merge it with Pakistan, and establish Islamic rule”.

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A notification issued by the Ministry stated that the organisation’s members have been involved in secessionist activities, raising funds through various sources, including Pakistan and its proxy organisations, to support terrorist activities and sustain stone-pelting on security forces in Jammu and Kashmir.

Masarat Alam Bhat is a terrorist-turned-secessionist. He was a top commander of a Pakistani-sponsored terrorist outfit Hezbollah in the 1990’s. Masarat was first arrested in 1990 but was released in 1991. He was detained for a second time in 1993 and kept in custody for more than four years. He was detained a fourth time in 2001 and released in 2003.

Two months after his release, Bhat was again detained for the fifth time in 2003 and held in custody until July 2005.  In 2007, Masarat Alam joined a secessionist outfit Muslim League and became its Chief. He became the poster boy of anti-India protests and slogans in 2008 during the Amarnath Land Row agitation and led the 2010 unrest in Kashmir valley.

In 2010, when Kashmir witnessed massive protests and stone pelting incidents in the aftermath of the killing of a teenager, Tufail Mattoo, Masarat Alam became the forerunner of the agitation by way of issuing protest and shutdown calendars while in hiding. Masarat was instrumental in orchestrating attacks on security forces and playing “freedom” songs in mosques that threatened law enforcement agencies to leave Kashmir.

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A bounty of Rs 15 lakh was declared against him in 2010. On October 18, 2010, J&K Police arrested Masarat Alam Bhat from his maternal uncle’s house in the Wagund Telbal area of Srinagar and booked him under PSA. After the PDP-BJP government led by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed came to power in J&K, he was released briefly in 2015 but was re-arrested a month later. Till now, Jammu and Kashmir Police have booked Masarat in near about 40 criminal cases but in most of the cases, he has either been exonerated or bailed out.

In 2017, Masarat Alam was arrested by the NIA in a terror funding case and was taken away from a Jammu jail to Tihar Jail in New Delhi. He continues to remain in Tihar. During interrogation, Masarat Alam confessed to NIA that Pakistani-based agents routed funds through hawala operators which were transferred to secessionists including Syed Shah Geelani Chairman APHC (G).

A week after the death of Chairman APHC Syed Ali Shah Geelani, an amalgam of secessionists All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) appointed Masarat Alam Bhat as its new Chairman.

A senior police official told The New Indian that “ Masarat Alam Bhat was in regular touch with Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) cadres through different sources and was even operating from jail on their instructions.”

He said that “ Masarat was the main “orchestrator” of stone pelting in Jammu and Kashmir and even managed the money sent by LeT Chief Hafiz Saeed to carry out anti-India activities in Jammu and Kashmir.”

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