The Centre moved this week to designate nine men accused of promoting terrorism in Punjab as terrorists under India’s anti-terror law amended last year letting the Union home ministry ban individuals and not just organisations. The nine, the ‘nasty nine’ as one Punjab Police officer described them, have been trying to revive militancy in Punjab from their homes in five countries including Pakistan.
The provision was first invoked last September to designate Jaish-e-Mohammed founder Maulana Masood Azhar, Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafeez Saeed, its operational commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and Dawood Ibrahim, as terrorists under Indian law. That order was more symbolic. The four have already been designated as terrorists by the United Nations Security Council; Hafiz Saeed as far back as in 2008.
“Monday’s notification is important because this is the first time that this provision of the anti-terror law has been invoked to initiate a crackdown on promoters of Khalistan living in foreign countries,” a senior counter-terror official told Hindustan Times.