India designates Masood Azhar, Hafiz Saeed and Dawood Ibrahim “individual terrorists” under new anti-terror law
New Delhi: India, on Wednesday, designated Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar and Lashkar-e-Tayyaba founder Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, besides two others, as “individual terrorists” under a new anti-terror law.
Until now, their outfits were declared as terrorist organizations. Taking advantage of this loophole, they used to rechristen their outfits from time to time and continued mayhem under new nomenclatures, or even as NGOs, trusts, educational or humanitarian outfits. The new law will pin them down as individual terrorists (in their personal capacities), irrespective of a change in name of their outfits.
The decision was taken under the recently amended Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, or UAPA, which allows the government to designate an individual as a terrorist. This came nearly a month after Parliament approved a crucial amendment to The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
Mumbai-terror attack mastermind Zaki Ur Rehman Lakhvi and underworld don Dawood Ibrahim have also been declared as “individual terrorists”.
The newly amended Act also provides for putting a travel ban on such individuals once they are declared terrorists.
The UAPA seeks to empower the Union Government to designate an individual a “terrorist” if they are found committing, preparing for, promoting or involved in an act of terror. A similar provision already exists in Part four and six of the Legislation for organizations that can be designated as ‘terrorist organizations’.
Home Minister Amit Shah, during a debate on the Bill in Lok Sabha, had stressed on the need to designate individuals as terrorists to root out terrorism.
The designation of an individual as a global terrorist by the United Nations (UN) is associated with sanctions, including travel bans, freezing of assets and an embargo against procuring arms.