The Narendra Modi government on Friday banned Yasin Malik-led Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) for “promoting” secession of the militancy-hit state of Jammu and Kashmir. JKLF, founded by Amanullah Khan and Maqbool Bhat in Birmingham, England on 29 May 1977, has been spearheading separatist ideology in Valley for decades.
Khan had established JKLF's branches across UK, US and middle east before coming to Pakistan-administered Kashmir in 1982 and then in Jammu and Kashmir in 1987. The organisation is the descendant of Khan's PoK-based Plebiscite Front's unofficial armed wing called National Liberation Front, which carried out sabotage activities in Jammu and Kashmir as well as the hijacking of a Delhi-Srinagar commercial plane. The aircraft was then taken to Lahore where the passengers were released and the plane was burnt down.
In 1987, following the alleged rigging in state elections, the JKLF indoctrinated Kashmiri youth to take up arms against the “Indian rule” and started sending them across the border to receive arms training. The organisation waged a war against security forces and kidnapped the daughter of then home minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. The war against the military had an ill-fated end and JKLF leader Yasin Malik was arrested in wounded condition. By 1992, most of the JKLF militants were either killed or captured.
In 1994, under the leadership of Yasin Malik, the JKLF in Jammu and Kashmir announced ‘indefinite ceasefire’ and reportedly disbanded its military wing. The organisation decided to take the political route for achieving its objective of Jammu and Kashmir’s independence and sowed the seed of separatist ideology.
However, the decision didn’t go down well with the organisation’s PoK branch which split off from the group. Over a decade later, the two factions merged again in 2005 retaining the original identity. JKLF is often accused of sponsoring the stone pelting against security personnel in Valley.
The JKLF claims to be a secular with one single goal of secular, independent Kashmir free of both India and Pakistan. JKLF leader Malik is currently lodged in Kot Balwal jail in Jammu, and is likely to face trial in the three-decade-old case of kidnapping of Rubaiya Sayeed, the daughter of then Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, and gunning down of four IAF personnel in Srinagar.