Authorities have launched crackdown against the leaders and cadres of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) in Kashmir following the Government of India (GoI) ban on the pro-independence organisation.
JKLF led by Mohammad Yasin Malik was banned for five years by GoI on March 22.
The GoI has declared JKLF an unlawful association under the provisions of Section 3 (1) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
A reliable government source said about 16 JKLF leaders and activists have been arrested from different parts of the valley since Friday, when the ban was imposed.
Among the arrested were two top leaders of the party.
JKLF chairman Yasin Malik and zonal organiser Bashir Ahmad Kashmiri have both been booked under Public Safety Act (PSA) and lodged in Kot Balwal jail, Jammu.
Several other top and middle-rung leaders of JKLF also booked under PSA.
The sources didn’t disclose whether the JKLF members, who are serving in government, would face arrest or not.
They maintained that JKLF members, who are involved in active party activities, are being arrested.
“Basically, those in active participation will be arrested,” the government sources said.
Sources said that raids were being conducted by forces to nab the JKLF members to curb the organisation’s activities in valley.
“There will be curbs on its activities and meetings. Besides, if anyone provides funds to the organisation without due permission, he/she will have to face the law,” they said.
Sources said that action against the offices of JKLF is also being initiated as the GoI has empowered the State Government to prohibit use of spaces and funds by the organisation.
The State government has been authorised to take action against the organisation under section 7, which prohibit the use of funds by an unlawful association and section 8, which ban the use of locations for holding activities of such an organisation under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967.
Earlier, JKLF acting chairman Abdul Hameed Butt had rejected the GoI ban, terming it as a “frustration and election stunt.”
JKLF, a militant outfit turned pro-freedom group, is the second organisation which has been banned in Jammu and Kashmir this month in the aftermath of Pulwama fidayeen attack that left 40 CRPF men dead.
Earlier, the GoI banned the Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir, a politico-religious organisation.
Over 300 leaders and activists of the organisation have been arrested and many of them booked under PSA.