Continuing to deal with terrorism with an “iron hand”, the government on Tuesday designated 18 more individuals as “terrorists” including chief of the banned Hizbul Mujahideen Syed Sallahudin, founders of Indian Mujahideen Bhatkal brothers and a close lieutenant of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, Chhota Shakeel, taking the total number of such proscribed persons to 31.
The announcement by the Union Home Ministry came on the day the India-US 2+2 ministerial dialogue took place here where Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met their American counterparts.
The hijackers of an Indian Airlines plane in 1999 — Abdul Rauf Asghar, Ibrahim Athar and Yusuf Azhar — have also been named in the list, prepared under provisions of the amended Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, a home ministry spokesperson said. Earlier, only terror outfits could be designated as such under the stringent law and not individuals.
But the amended anti-terror Act, passed by Parliament in August 2019, introduced a provision to designate as “terrorists” individuals who commit or participate in acts of terrorism, prepare for them, or promote or encourage such acts.