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JRL flays ban on JKLF as 'undemocratic'

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Calls for shutdown today

Srinagar, Mar 23: Separatists Saturday said the Centre's decision to ban Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) headed by Muhammad Yasin Malik was "undemocratic" and "political vendetta".

Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) also called for a general strike on Sunday to protest against the ban imposed by the government on the JKLF.

"The Government of India's decision of banning the JKLF for five years is highly authoritarian, autocratic and pure political vendetta," the JRL comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik said in a statement.

"Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front is involved in peaceful struggle to resolve the Kashmir dispute and the sole motive of banning it like Jama'at-e-Islami is to crush the legitimate Kashmiri struggle through the use of force," they said in the statement.

The JRL urged people of Kashmir to observe a complete shutdown on March 24 against "the arbitrary and undemocratic decision" of the government.

"The way Government of India is announcing bans and crackdowns on the organizations associated with the Kashmir struggle, arresting the leadership and slapping them with draconian PSA, killing youth in custody .... exposes their hollow claims of democracy," it said.

This is the second organisation in Jammu and Kashmir which has been banned this month. Earlier, the Centre had banned the Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir.

The Yasin Malik-led JKLF was banned on Friday for a series of violent acts and being in the forefront of separatist activities in the militancy-hit state since 1988, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba had said.

Listing out its subversive and violent activities, Gauba said the JKLF spearheaded the separatist ideology in Kashmir Valley and the action was taken following the "zero tolerance" policy of the central government against terrorism.

Malik is at present lodged in Kot Balwal jail in Jammu, and is likely to face trial in the three-decade-old case of kidnapping of Rubaya Sayeed and gunning down of four IAF personnel in Srinagar.

The JKLF was founded by Pakistani national Amanullah Khan in mid-1970 at Birmingham in the United Kingdom and came into prominence in 1971 when its member hijacked an Indian Airlines plane flying from Srinagar to Jammu.

A total of 37 FIRs have been registered by the Jammu and Kashmir Police against JKLF and two cases, including that of murder of IAF personnel, were registered by the CBI.

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