Jihad Council against use of landmines in Kashmir


Srinagar : The Muzaffarabad-based conglomerate of armed guerrilla groups, the United Jehad Council (UJC), has decided not to use antipersonnel mines in its campaign against Indian security forces in Jammu and Kashmir, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) said Thursday.

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According to the Geneva-based organisation, the UJC in its declaration Tuesday stated that “the use of antipersonnel mines is equivalent to blind terror and use of such mines is prohibited under Islam”.

In a statement sent to journalists here Thursday, the ICBL has said: “The UJC announcement came at the end of a two-week mission to Kashmir by the ICBL and was the result of a year-long series of activities carried out in partnership with the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), a Srinagar-based ICBL member.”

The UJC includes 13 Kashmiri militant groups. Five other non-Kashmiri armed groups have observer status and UJC directives are binding upon them.

“The UJC’s pledge is yet another sign of the growing acceptance of the norm which prohibits antipersonnel mines because of their indiscriminate nature,” ICBL executive director Sylvie Brigot said in the statement.

“We now encourage both India and Pakistan to consider a moratorium on new mine use and to launch comprehensive mine clearance programmes,” Brigot added.

The ICBL statement further said that most mines in Kashmir were situated near the Line of Control (LoC) between the Indian and Pakistani administered areas.

The ICBL statement added that “in recent years, some of the UJC members, particularly Hizbul Mujahideen and Laskar-e-Toiba (LeT), have used command-detonated improvised explosive devices (IEDs), some of which have caused civilian deaths and injuries.

“The UJC has stated it may continue to use command-detonated IEDs against military targets but has banned the use, production or trade of victim-activated mines as prohibited under the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty,” the statement said.