The Foreign Office (FO) on Monday condemned Indian authorities’ decision to declare the Tehreek-i-Hurriyat Jammu and Kashmir (TeH) as an “unlawful association” for five years.

According to The Hindu India’s Union Home Ministry of Home Affairs on Dec 31 declared the party an “unlawful association” under Section 3 of the anti-terror law the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

India’s Union Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah had said the group was found “involved in forbidden activities to separate Jammu and Kashmir from India and establish Islamic rule” as well as spreading “anti-India propaganda and continuing terror activities to fuel secessionism”.

Prior to this, India had also designated the Muslim League Jammu Kashmir (Masarat Alam faction), or MLJK-MA, as an “unlawful association”.

In a statement released today, the FO said TeH was the second Kashmiri party banned under UAPA in less than a week. It said the total number of outlawed Kashmiri political parties had increased to six with the latest ban.

The FO said the TeH was founded by Kashmiri leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani who passed away in 2021 during a protracted house arrest. “His dead body was ruthlessly snatched by the occupation authorities, and his near and dear ones were not allowed to attend his funeral,” the FO added.

It said that “banning of political parties is part of India’s relentless campaign to subjugate the Kashmiri people, suppress dissent, and consolidate its occupation of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).”

The FO said these actions were in violation of democratic norms, international human rights and humanitarian law.

“India must remove the ban on all the political parties illegally outlawed in IIOJK and respect the fundamental rights and freedoms of the Kashmiri people,” it said.

The FO asked India to release all political prisoners, and faithfully implement the UN Security Council resolutions on held Kashmir.

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