The United States (US) Department of State on 26 June 2017 declared Syed Salahuddin, Chief of the terrorist group Hizbul Mujahideen, as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. The declaration came a few hours before Prime Minister Narendra Modi's meeting with President Donald Trump.
The outfits that Syed Salahuddin leads have perpetuated cross border terrorism against India including in Kashmir from the territory of Pakistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir for a number of years. Salahuddin has been operating out of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
This declaration will prohibit US nationals from engaging in transactions with Salahuddin. Also, all of Salahuddin's property and interests in property subject to United States jurisdiction are blocked.
Why US declared Syed Salahuddin as global terrorist?
• A native of Budgam district in central Kashmir, Salahuddin had shifted to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir around 1989 from where he played a key role in fuelling militancy in Kashmir for 27 years by training and arming youth before sending them back to the Kashmir valley.
• His terrorist outfit Hizbul Mujahideen has claimed responsibility for several attacks, including the April 2014 explosives attack in Jammu and Kashmir which injured 17 people.
• He also heads the United Jihad Council, the umbrella body set up in the mid-1990s to oversee terror outfits active in Jammu and Kashmir.
• In September 2016, Salahuddin vowed to block any peaceful resolution to the Kashmir conflict, threatened to train more Kashmiri suicide bomber and vowed to turn the Kashmir valley into a graveyard for Indian forces.
• In 2016 while addressing a public rally in Lahore, Salahuddin threatened Home Minister Rajnath Singh against travelling to Islamabad for the SAARC meeting of Home Ministers.
• Before taking to militancy, Salahuddin had contested assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir in 1987. However, he had lost in the polls which were believed to be fixed.
The designation of terrorist individuals and groups expose and isolate organizations and individuals. It results in denial of access to the US financial system. It can also complement the law enforcement actions of other nations.
The declaration underlines that both India and US face threat of terrorism and both are working together to counter this threat, not in particular sector but globally also as terrorism knows no boundaries.
As of now, it is not clear how the US order will impact the Hizbul chief who operates out of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and has the support of the Pakistani government and its agencies.
In 2014, the US had similarly placed the Pakistan-based Hafiz Saeed-run Jamaat-ud-Dawa in the list of banned foreign terrorist organisations. Hafiz Saeed was involved in terrorist attacks of the 2008 strike on Mumbai that killed more than 160 people, including six Americans.
When: 26 June 2017