Hizbul Mujahideen ban goes global, but will it reach the Valley?

Though the Hizbul Mujahideen has been projected as the largest “Kashmiri” militant group, during the last decade and half, it had lost the appeal to a more radical section such as the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad.

Written by D. Suba Chandran | Updated: August 17, 2017 7:13 pm
Hizbul Mujahideen, burhan wani, kashmir, pakistan, kashmir terrorist, hijbul, indian express A policeman tears apart a photo of slain Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani at Rambagh in Srinagar on Sunday, August 14, 2016. (Express photo by Shuaib Masoodi)

The US Department of State has designated Hizbul Mujahideen as a “Foreign Terrorist Organisation” and “Specially Designated Global Terrorist”. The above designation seeks to “deny HM the resources it needs to carry out terrorist attacks” besides blocking Hizbul’s property and interests subject to American jurisdiction and prohibiting persons from “engaging in any transactions with the group.”

From an Indian perspective, what does the above designation mean? Will it affect Hizbul’s functioning and prevent further recruitment within Kashmir Valley? Will it prevent Pakistan from supporting HM and Syed Salahudin?

Though the Hizbul has been projected as the largest “Kashmiri” militant group, during the last decade and half, it had lost the appeal to a more radical section such as the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad. The latter are based in Pakistan and are lethal in terms of attacks and ideological orientation.

For New Delhi, the US designation is strategic and political. While Pakistan has been pushing hard to project “Indian atrocities” in the Kashmir Valley, the latest designation of the Hizbul, and the earlier US declaration of Syed Salahudin as a global terrorist (during Modi’s visit to the US) makes a political point at global level. It shows, where the White House stands on the ongoing unrest in J&K; clearly, the Trump administration stands with New Delhi.

Does the American ban really matter to the militant groups and their patrons?

For India, the bigger challenge is Lashkar-e-Toiba. Earlier, the US has designated the following Pakistan-based groups as terrorist organisations: Harakat ul-Mujahidin (HuM), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), Lashkar-e-Jhanvi (LI), Ansal-al Islam (AI), Tehrike-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), and Jundullah.

Outside these Pakistan based organisations, LTTE in Sri Lanka, Harakat ul-Jihad-i-Islami – Bangladesh (HuJI-B) and Indian Mujahdeen (IM) were also designated by the US as terrorist organisations. While the LTTE disintegrated after the killing of Prabhakaran, the other two in Bangladesh and India declined due to state action and also their inability to sustain popular support.

In case of Pakistan-based groups, the above has not happened. While the HuM declined during the 1990s, LeT, TTP, LI and Jundullah continue to operate – with and outside the State patronage. The Lashkar in particular has been openly challenging the ban; recently, it even announced the formation of a political party. While Hafiz Saeed was repeatedly placed under house arrest, it has neither affected his position, nor curbed Lashkar’s activities.

While the ban provides a political scoring point for India against Pakistan, the latter is unlikely to take any effective measure to curb the Hizbul. If the American military pressure and economic carrots have not prevented Pakistan’s Deep State to act against the Taliban and the Huqqanis, will the US designation against Hizbul make any effective change? Less likely. For rest of Pakistan, the Hizbul will remain a “separatist” group and not militant.

What next for Hizbul and New Delhi?

Hizbul may find another name, as Lashkar transformed itself into Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD). Syed Salahuddin may be placed under house arrest within Pakistan.

But the real issue for New Delhi would be the support and activities of the militant groups inside Kashmir. The American designation is a success for the South Block at the diplomatic level. The long term challenge for New Delhi would be to expand this, leading to the total disintegration of militancy and prevent the emergence of Burhan Wanis. For this, the North Block and the Prime Minister’s Office will have to work together and carry forward the international success into Srinagar and beyond.

The author is a Professor and Dean at the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) Bangalore. He edits annual titled Armed Conflicts in South Asia and runs a portal on Pakistan – www.pakistanreader.org.

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  1. Amit Bhattacharjie
    Aug 17, 2017 at 10:32 pm
    Print posters about this news and also include in it how the families of the members of this terrorist group will also suffer due to this blacklisting. Put up the posters all over the relevant places. Drop leaflets of the same all over.
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      pankaj
      Aug 17, 2017 at 10:00 pm
      One good thing about Modi is, he doesn't fight in a hurry. He has lot of patience and he is a solid patriot with variety of fighting tactics and skills needed for his job... So irrespective of what Kashmiri militants or separatists or ISI do, they know that this guy will make them cry in the long run and will eliminate these Jehadis..
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        pankaj
        Aug 17, 2017 at 10:04 pm
        If Kashmiris cannot love their Hindu roots and India then the end result will be same as that of Pakistan.. they will have iden y crisis, not knowing who they are and will become islamists... KASHMIRI MUSLIMS SHOULD KNOW THE BASIS OF KASHMIRIYAT IS IN HINDUISM, IF YOU CANNOT RESPECT THAT FORGET ABOUT KASHMIRIYAT.. kashmiriyat was give by Kashmiri sages, they developed it in thousand of years... If you cannot respect and love those old hindu sages as your forefathers you are doomed one way or the other.
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          pankaj
          Aug 17, 2017 at 10:06 pm
          All Kashmiri muslims are descendants of those hindu sages, primarily Pundits and some Rajputs... Kashmir was a place for Tapas, or Sadhna or Yoga... read what Alexander's historian wrote of Alexander's meeting with Dandamis (Dandi Swamy) and understand how great your forefathers were....
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        pankaj
        Aug 17, 2017 at 9:56 pm
        16-year-old Hyderabad girl sold off to Oman Sheik in his 60s for 5 lakh girls are commodities or like cattle at best for such people
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        1. Amit Bhattacharjie
          Aug 17, 2017 at 10:39 pm
          If this is true and this news is sent to the Sultan of Oman, the old bridegroom will be pulled up by the Sultan and the mariage will be annulled.
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          Shafted mohammed
          Aug 17, 2017 at 8:57 pm
          Yes , the more important is the snakes of hurriyat should spend rest of the life in jail. The terror fundraisers and supporters of border trade must be in jail. There should be no trade across the border. We should remember we are at war , proxy war and Pakistan never wants peace. Block all hawala money and when no money for stone pelters , few would still turn up catch them and send them to car Nicobar where they can help making a man made island by stone pelting. No money , no supari killing and kill all these ghaznavi , qasim , taimur , abdali and chengez khans and there would be peace as long as border is sealed and drones patrolling the borders.
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            George Cruz
            Aug 17, 2017 at 8:41 pm
            The educated Kashmiri Muslims want jobs/education, want to be part of the greater India and definitely the appeal to a more radical section such as the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad is vaning steadily except the few Sunni Muslims in the Kashmir Valley who are brainwashed with the Islamic ideologies of hate towards Hindus, illiterate (madrassa education), failures in their lives and still support the separatist leaders like NC Omar Abdullah and the PDP's Muftis. But the bottomline is that the Indian citizens would never allow or accept another terror prone Islamic on Caliphate in the Kashmir Valley. The best option for these Kashmir separatist Sunni Muslims is to emigrate to Islamic Caliphate Pak carved out of India in the 1947 and join Jinnah's ghost.
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