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Tribunal confirms declaration of Shabir Shah’s JKDFP unlawful

A tribunal, appointed by the Union Home Ministry, has upheld the ban on the Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party (JKDFP), led by incarcerated separatist Shabir Ahmad Shah. The ban, declared in October 2023 under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, cited the group’s “anti-India” and “pro-Pakistan” activities.

Headed by Justice Sachin Datta of the Delhi High Court, the tribunal was tasked with determining whether there were sufficient grounds for labeling JKDFP as an unlawful association. Its recent ruling, issued on April 3, 2024, confirmed the declaration, citing ample evidence of the group’s destabilizing impact on law and order in Jammu and Kashmir.

The tribunal emphasized that within the framework of Indian law, there is no room for associations like JKDFP that openly advocate for secessionism, reject allegiance to the Indian Constitution, and challenge the country’s territorial integrity. It highlighted the detrimental effects of the group’s activities on the region’s stability.

Founded in 1998 by Shabir Ahmad Shah, JKDFP was initially part of the Hurriyat Conference before joining the hardline faction led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani. Shah, currently imprisoned in Delhi’s Tihar Jail, faces legal action for alleged involvement in money laundering and terror funding cases.

The tribunal’s decision reinforces the government’s stance on curbing organizations deemed to pose a threat to national security. It underlines the ongoing efforts to maintain peace and stability in Jammu and Kashmir amid persistent challenges posed by separatist elements.

Despite the ban, JKDFP’s ideology continues to resonate with some segments of the population in the region, reflecting the complex socio-political landscape of Jammu and Kashmir. The ruling serves as a reminder of the government’s commitment to countering separatist movements and preserving national unity.

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