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J&K women’s group banned
|Kashmir women's secessionist group, Dukhtaran-e Millat (DEM - Daughters of the Ummah), was on 27 June banned by India under Prevention of Terrorism Act with immediate effect for indulging in "terrorist activities".
A notification issued by the Home Ministry in New Delhi said that the organisation "is involved in terrorist activities and banned under POTA with immediate effect".
DEM chief Aasiya Andrabi is wanted in cases related to illegal hawala funding of terrorist groups and is absconding. With this, 29 organisations have so far been declared unlawful under the anti-terrorism law (POTA).
Though Aasiya Andrabi and her organisation support secessionism and provide political cover to separatist organisaitons, there has been no accusation so far that DEM actually takes part in violent acts.
Pakistan promptly condemned the Indian ban on DEM. A Pakistan foreign ministry statement said it was "greatly" concerned over the attempts by Indian forces to arrest the group's leader Andarabi. The statement also asked New Delhi to release Hurriyat leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Yasin Malik and Abdul Aziz Sheikh.
A college graduate with a degree in bio-chemistry and bacteriology, Andrabi set up her separatist outfit in 1981, eight years before the launch of an armed insurgency against Indian rule in Kashmir. She is married to a former militant leader, Qasim Paktoo, who has spent many years behind bars. q
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