Why US tag of ‘global terrorist’ for Salahuddin matters to Indian govt

The Indian Express explains the implications of the US decision for the Hizb-ul Mujahideen chief, the outfit’s finances, and India’s position that cross-border terrorism is behind situation in Kashmir.

Written by Rahul Tripathi | Published:June 28, 2017 2:19 am
 salahuddin, terrorist salahuddin, salahuddin global terrorist, india-us, pakistan terrorist, kashmiri militant, indian govt, india news, indian express Hizb-ul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin addresses a gathering in Muzaffarabad, PoK, in September 2011. AP

What does the designation of global terrorist mean?

Under the US Executive Order 13224, an individual or group is placed under the category of Special Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT). Terror outfits are designated ‘Foreign Terrorist Organizations’ and individuals who are part of such organisations are designated SDGT. Such categorisation is aimed at disrupting the financial support network for terrorists and terrorist organisations. Through the Office of Assets Control (OFAC), the designation authorises US government to block the assets of foreign individuals and entities that commit, or pose a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism. It deters donations or contributions to designated individuals or entities, and heightens public awareness and knowledge of individuals or entities linked to terrorism. The notification was first signed into law by George W Bush as President in September 2001.

Who is Syed Salahuddin?

Known for his anti-Indian-government stand, Mohammed Yusuf Shah aka Salahuddin, 71, hails from Budgam in Jammu and Kashmir. He unsuccessfully contested the assembly elections from Amirakadal constituency in 1987. It was after joining Hizb-ul Mjahideen that he changed his name from Yusuf Shah to Syed Salahuddin. He is currently the chief of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, one of several homegrown militant groups that have been operating from the Valley for decades.

To India, what significance does such as designation for Salahuddin hold?

This is the first time a Kashmiri militant has been designated a “global terrorist”. By doing so, the United States has accepted that Salahuddin’s Hizb-ul Mujahideen is not an “indigenous terror group” in Kashmir and poses a greater threat to the world. The US move is a recognition of India’s longstanding position that cross-border terrorism is behind the crisis in Kashmir, particularly in the past one year.

How does it affect Salahuddin himself?

His branding as a “global terrorist” is a major setback to Salahuddin, chief of the Valley’s largest militant outfit and also chairman of the United Jihad Council, an umbrella group of militant outfits operating in Jammu and Kashmir. Hizb-ul Mujahideen has always pinned its hopes on the intervention of western powers, from the United States to the European Union, for a resolution of the Kashmir issue. Now, the statement released by the US Department of State says Salahuddin “vowed to block any peaceful resolution to the Kashmir conflict, threatened to train more Kashmiri suicide bombers, and vowed to turn the Kashmir Valley into a graveyard for Indian forces”.

Has Hizb-ul Mujahideen ever been part of terrorist activists on a global scale?

Hizb-ul Mujahideen maintains close links with Pakistan-based terrorist outfits such as Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad but, unlike these, it has had no global agenda thus far. The outfit has confined itself to the Kashmir Valley, maintaining that its struggle is limited there. Salahuddin recently warned the people of Jammu & Kashmir to stay away from the influence of global terror outfits such as Islamic State and al-Qaeda.

Is it possible that Salahuddin’s name will be removed from the SDGT list one day?

Theoretically, yes. Every year, the Office of Assets Control removes hundreds of individuals and entities from the SDGT list. The individual or entity has to file a reconsideration request with OFAC with a detailed description of why they should be removed. Each removal is based on a thorough review by OFAC.

How many Indians are in the SDGT list?

The list is long and updated from time to time. Among prominent names are underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, his brother Anis Ibrahim and associates Chhota Shakeel and Aziz Moosa. Recently, the US treasury department issued sanctions against Shafi Armar, a Karnataka-born IS operative believed to be in Syria. The list also has Maulana Asim Umar, chief of al-Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent, who hails from Sambhal in UP.

How is the US’s SDGT list different from the UN’s sanction list?

The US executive order prohibits any transaction or dealing with the named individual/entity by US citizens or people living within the United States. Such a designation is, therefore, limited to the United States. A UN designation, on the other hand, is recognised by all countries and is considered a non-partisan global sanction. India had sought the UNSC’s global terrorist designation for JeM chief Maulana Masood Azhar and Salahuddin but the move was blocked by China. Although the US sanction is confined to that country, it can compel other Western countries, including those in the EU, to follow suit.

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  1. J
    Jun 29, 2017 at 6:41 am
    Sir it's nothing but to befool Indian people,Indian hotel journalism......No power in the world can stop kashmiri people for their indigenous movement.......So stop watching reverie accept kashmir as an disputed territory and free this land.. GO INDIA GO BACK
    1. P
      Jun 29, 2017 at 12:53 pm
      Terrorist spotted ... Kill him
    2. E
      Employ Ment
      Jun 28, 2017 at 5:40 pm
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      1. K
        Kamal Pasha
        Jun 28, 2017 at 11:45 am
        A freedom fighter has been declared terrorist. Who helped Talibans to defeat USSR in Afghan War? Not US. Who is helping ISIS against Syria? Not US. Who helped Saddam against Khomeni? Not US. This is Free World for powerful only.
        1. D
          DR MISS
          Jun 28, 2017 at 11:19 am
          Very courageous step is taken by by our very intelligent brave Pm Modiji against global terrorist uddin I hope that terrorism will be reduced by this process I request to Editor to send my this message to PMO from Dr Anju Bhattacharyya 8527026719
          1. C
            Jun 28, 2017 at 10:48 am
            Some Muslims are terrorists but all Muslims are not, so stop blaming Muslims and Islam.
            1. S
              Shafted mohammed
              Jun 28, 2017 at 9:42 am
              Catch him by his beard and drag him in a helicopter and kill him.
              1. K
                Kamal Pasha
                Jun 28, 2017 at 12:05 pm
                Shafted : First catch Dawood Ebrahim.
              2. I
                Jun 28, 2017 at 9:28 am
                One terrorist banned new terrorist appear. So long Kashmir Muslims supporting these terrorists, terrorism will continue.
                1. S
                  Jun 28, 2017 at 9:06 am
                  Good move by U.S.A. and it's a slap on China. We must hope that True Indians will reject the Saffron Terrorist in our beloved Motherland.
                  1. D
                    DR MISS
                    Jun 28, 2017 at 11:24 am
                    Sirji ,Very correct statement is written by u best wishes from Dr Anju Bhattacharyya
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