Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar, Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, Mumbai terror attack accused Zaki-ur-Rehman-Lakhvi and fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim were on Wednesday declared individual terrorists by the government under a new anti-terror law.
The decisions have been taken nearly a month after Parliament approved a crucial amendment to The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 1967.
They are the first to be declared terrorists under the new anti-law, a home ministry official said.
According to the UAPA, earlier only a group could be declared as terrorist organisation. The amendments made in the Act allows government to declare even an individual as terrorist.
These four are involved in terrorist attacks in India and have been designated as global terrorists under United Nations.
"Earlier when terrorist organisations were banned, the individuals associated with them simply changed names and continued to carry out terrorist activities," an official statement said.
The ministry cited a series of terror acts in which Pakistan-based Azhar was involved that include attack on the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly complex in 2001, attack on Parliament in 2001, attack on Pathankot air base in 2016, attacks on BSF camp in Srinagar in 2017, and explosion of a CRPF bus at Pulwama on February 14.
It said Azhar was also designated as a global terrorist by the UN under the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1267 on May 1, 2019 and was declared as a proclaimed offender by the special judge (POTA), New Delhi.
"And whereas, the central government believes that Maulana Masood Azhar is involved in terrorism and Maulana Masood Azhar is to be notified as a terrorist under the said Act...," a home ministry notification said.
On Saeed, the home ministry said he was involved in various attacks including Red Fort in 2000, a CRPF camp in Rampur (Uttar Pradesh), India's worst terror strike in Mumbai in 2008 in which 166 people were killed and the attack on a BSF convoy at Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir in 2015.
Saeed, also the founder of Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD), was designated as a global terrorist by the UN under the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1267 on December 10, 2008.
"And whereas, the central government believes that Hafiz Muhammad Saeed is involved in terrorism and Hafiz Muhammad Saeed is to be notified as a terrorist under the said Act...," the notification said.
On LeT commander Lakhvi, the ministry said he was involved in various attacks including Red Fort attack in 2000, Rampur CRPF camp in 2008, Mumbai in 2008 and on a BSF convoy at Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir.
"And whereas, the central government believes that Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi is involved in terrorism and Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi is to be notified as a terrorist under the said Act," the ministry said.
The LeT was listed as a terrorist organisation under the First Schedule to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, Lakhvi was designated by the United Nations as a global terrorist under the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1267 on the 10th December, 2008.
The ministry said Dawood runs an international underworld crime syndicate and is involved in perpetrating acts of terror, promoting religious fundamentalism, terror financing, arms smuggling, circulation of counterfeit currency, money laundering, narcotics, extortion and benami real estate business in India and abroad.
He was also involved in assassination attempts on prominent personalities to create social disharmony and terrorise common man.
Dawood was designated as a global terrorist by the UN under the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1267 and he is listed in al-Qaeda sanction list on November 3, 2003 and the United Nations Security Council had also issued a special notice in his name on April 6, 2006.
Islamic State of Iraq and Levant and Al-Qaeda Sanction Committee of United Nations Security Council had listed Dawood for participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing or perpetrating of acts or activities by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf or in support of, supplying, selling or transferring arms and related material or otherwise supporting acts or activities of Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
It also said Dawood executed a series of bomb blasts along with his associates in Mumbai in March 1993, which resulted in deaths of 257 people and injured over 1000 others apart from destruction of properties on a massive scale.
"And whereas, the central government believes that Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar is involved in terrorism and Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar is to be notified as a terrorist under the said Act," it said.