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Updated December 31st, 2023 at 19:13 IST

Tehreek-e-Hurriyat banned: 19-year-old legacy of Anti-India activities comes to an end

In 2004, Syed Ali Shah Geelani parted ways with Jamaat-e-Islami and established Tehreek-e-Hurriyat.

Zeenat Zeeshan Fazil
Government bans Tehreek-eHurriyat
Government bans Tehreek-eHurriyat | Image:Republic
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Srinagar: In a significant move aimed at curbing anti-national and secessionist activities in Jammu and Kashmir, the Union Government has declared Tehreek-e-Hurriyat (TeH) as an ‘unlawful association.’ The decision comes amidst growing concerns over the group’s involvement in terrorism, anti-India propaganda and its intent to establish Islamic rule in Jammu and Kashmir.

“The ‘Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, J&K (TeH) has been declared an 'Unlawful Association' under UAPA,” Home Minister, Amit Shah said in a social media post.

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“The outfit is involved in forbidden activities to separate J&K from India and establish Islamic rule. The group is found spreading anti-India propaganda and continuing terror activities to fuel secessionism in J&K”, he further added.

Background: Tehreek-e-Hurriyat's 19-Year Legacy

On August 7, 2004, Syed Ali Shah Geelani parted ways with Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) and established Tehreek-e-Hurriyat (TeH), his own separatist entity. TeH then formed its membership base by drawing individuals from Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI).

The split arose due to Geelani's growing influence, surpassing that of JeI, which was uneasy with Geelani’s increasing stature and unwavering position on Kashmir issue. Despite both being anti-India, Jamaat e Islami aimed to maintain ‘some diplomatic options’ with the ‘Government of India’, while Geelani remained steadfast in his belief that ‘Kashmir should be an integral part of Pakistan’. During General Musharraf's regime in Pakistan, JeI found common ground with the engagement between ‘Musharraf and the Government of India’. However, then Geelani vehemently ‘opposed any dialogue between India and Pakistan, ‘as well as talks with the Indian government and the separatist regime’. These differences led to Geelani's expulsion from JeI, prompting the formation of TeH.

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Following its establishment on August 7, 2004, TeH emerged as the most influential separatist organization, drawing support from both local terror groups and Pakistani-sponsored terrorist groups in the valley. TeH played a pivotal role in orchestrating and financing numerous street protests, resulting in the loss of hundreds of lives.

On August 7, 2004, Tehreek-e-Hurriyat witnessed an impressive assembly of over 100,000 individuals, as per the most conservative estimates, converging at Hyderpora area in Srinagar’s uptown.

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Later, on the occasion of its anniversary, in August 2006, a departure from the traditional public convention approach was observed. The Tehreek-e-Hurriyat’s Central Council opted for a different strategy, choosing to host a convention specifically tailored for members, prospective members and basic party associates. As per Tehreek-e-Hurriyat then, ‘need was to expound upon the goals and objectives of the TeH during this convention.

Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, led by Syed Ali Geelani and later by Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai, gained prominence as a powerful separatist outfit in Jammu and Kashmir.

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In 2018, Ashraf Sehrai a close confidant of Hurriyat Hawk Syed Ali Geelani took over as chairman of the (after Geelani stepped down due to health issues).

Just days after Sherai took over as the chairman of TeH, his son Junaid Khan, 29, with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Kashmir University, joined the terror ranks on March 24, 2018. This was the first time that the son of a senior separatist leader of Sehrai's stature has joined the terror ranks in Kashmir.

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Junaid Khan, a ‘divisional commander’, was assigned the task of heading Central Kashmir areas by the home-grown terror outfit Hizbul Mujahideen.

On May 19 2020, during an encounter between terrorist and Joint security forces, Junaid alias Amaar Bhai was among the two terrorists killed in an overnight gunfight between terrorists and Joint security forces at Kani Mazar locality in downtown Srinagar.

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Despite its initial strength, Tehreek-e-Hurriyat (TeH) came under increased scrutiny following the abrogation of Article 370. Subsequently, the government closely monitored its activities, culminating in a pivotal turn of events on December 31, 2023, when TeH was officially banned under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) after 19 years of existence.

 

 

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Published December 31st, 2023 at 17:48 IST

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