India declares Mustaq Ahmed Zargar freed in exchange for IC-814 hostages as terrorist

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The Ministry of Home Affairs has declared Mustaq Ahmed Zargar alias Latram as terrorist under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.

Zargar was one the three terrorists released by the Indian government in exchange for hostages abroad the hijacked IC-814 in 1999.

According to a Gazette notification issued on Wednesday, Zargar had been affiliated with the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front and had gone to Pakistan to procure illegal arms and ammunition training in the past. His terror outfit ‘Al-Umar-Mujahideen’ is listed as a terrorist organisation under the First Schedule to the UAPA.

The ministry notification also said that Zargar has been running an incessant campaign from Pakistan to fuel terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir and has been involved in various terror crimes, including murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping, planning and execution of terrorist attacks and terror funding.

“Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar is a threat to peace, not only to India, but across the world, with his contacts and proximity to radical terrorist groups like the ‘Al Qaeda’ and ‘Jaish-e Mohammed’,” the notification reads further.

Zargar, 52, a resident of Gani Mohalla near Jama Masjid in Nowhatta in Srinagar, is the founder and Chief Commander of the terror outfit ‘Al Umar-Mujahideen’ based in Pakistan and suspected to be the man behind the Anantnag terror attack which led to the deaths of five CRPF jawans on June 13, 2019.

“Now, therefore, the government, in exercise of the powers conferred by clause (a) of sub-section (1) of section 35 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, declared Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar alias Latram as a terrorist listed at number 35 under the Fourth Schedule to the said Act.” the Gazette notification said.

The Air India flight IC-814 with 76 passengers and 15 crew members on board was hijacked on December 24, 1999, when it was on its way to Delhi from Kathmandu. The flight made stops at Amritsar and Lahore before finally being forced to stop in Afghanistan’s Kandahar. The hijack and subsequent hostage-release situation lasted a week until India agreed to release the three terrorists — Masood Azhar, Omar Sheikh and Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar.

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