Neeraj Patil, a Labour leader and former Mayor of the London Borough of Lambeth, has expressed deep concern over the endorsement of the party by terrorist group JKLF. This came ahead of the December 12 General Election in the UK. In a letter addressed to Labour Party General Secretary Jennie Formby, Patil said, the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) had kidnapped an Indian diplomat Ravindra Mhatre in February, 1984 in Birmingham and brutally murdered him after failing to get the release of its founding member Maqbool Bhat from Indian prison.
“This organisation also has a long track record of terror offences in India and is designated as a terrorist organisation there,” he said.
The letter of endorsement signed by Syed Tahseen Gilani, JKLF President, British Chapter, stated that on behalf of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, they completely supported the Labour Party in the election on December 12.
Dr Patil said, “I am a strong advocate of peace between India and Pakistan and have a track record of holding many events to bring both the communities closer. I have erected a statue of an Indo-Pakistani philosopher on the bank of River Thames with the support of the Pakistani Muslim community.
“I was very disappointed to note that Luton Labour Party is displaying this letter of endorsement from JKLF on the official Facebook and sending this letter from the JKLF to members of the community via social media.”
He asked the Labour Party to take remedial measures as a matter of urgency.
The Narendra Modi government 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.