New Delhi says move necessary to prevent Kashmiri group from perpetrating terrorist activities
India on Friday welcomed the United States’ blacklisting of Kashmiri separatist group Hizbul Mujahideen as a terrorist organization.
The U.S. Treasury Department, in a statement on its website on Wednesday, said it listed the Pakistan-based outfit as a “foreign terrorist organization,” freezing its assets “to deny Hizbul Mujahideen the resources it needs to carry out terrorist attacks.”
“We welcome the designation of the Hizbul Mujahideen as a terrorist organization,” Raveesh Kumar, India’s foreign ministry spokesman, told reporters. “All of us are aware of what kind of terrorist activities they have conducted in the state of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said, adding it was key to “end moral, diplomatic and material support” to such groups.
Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since the end of British colonial rule in 1947 and both claim the territory in its entirety. Homegrown rebel groups, including the Hizbul Mujahideen, have been fighting around half a million Indian troops deployed in the region, calling for independence or a merger with Pakistan since an armed rebellion broke-out in 1989.
Anti-India sentiment runs deep in the predominantly Muslim Kashmir valley, one of the world’s most heavily militarized areas.
Islamabad expressed disappointment over Washington’s move, calling it “unjustified.”
The blacklisting came after the U.S. State Department designated Hizbul Mujahideen’s commander Syed Salahuddin as a “global terrorist” in June, saying under his rule it committed numerous attacks including one in 2014 in India-administered Kashmir that left 17 injured.