The Ministry of Home Affairs on Thursday designated The Resistance Front (TRF), a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) front organisation that has threatened journalists in Kashmir for three months, as a “terrorist organisation” under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for its support of terrorist causes, recruitment of terrorists, infiltration of terrorists, and smuggling of weapons and drugs into J&K from Pakistan.
In accordance with a notification released by the MHA, TRF was founded in 2019 as a front organisation for the LeT, a banned terrorist group. “TRF is recruiting young people online to support terrorist actions, and it has also been involved in spreading propaganda about terrorism, recruiting terrorists, infiltrating terrorist groups, and transporting weapons and drugs into J&K from Pakistan. According to the announcement, TRF engages in psychological operations on social media sites to recruit J&K residents to join terrorist organisations fighting the Indian government.
According to representatives, Pakistan has given LeT a new name: TRF. “Pakistan did not like the religious overtones that Lashkar and Jaish-e-Mohammad carried. They aimed to give the militancy in Kashmir an indigenous air. They chose ‘Resistance,’ which has some currency in international politics, as their name as a result,” an official added.
Sheikh Sajjad Gul, a TRF commander, has reportedly been classified as a terrorist under the Fourth Schedule of the UAPA, according to the MHA notification.
“The TRF’s operations are harmful to India’s security and sovereignty. According to the MHA, numerous cases have been filed against TRF members and affiliates for conspiring to murder J&K security officials and civilians as well as for coordinating and transporting weapons for banned terrorist organisations.
A few Valley media outlets had received threats from the group for their “traitorous activities,” and as a result, numerous journalists had left their positions at regional periodicals.
J&K DGP Dilbag Singh had revealed to The Indian Express in 2020 that TRF started as a social media operation run from Karachi. The virtual entity eventually became tangible once they established a sizable online presence.
The first place they supplied firearms was Keran, where organisations like Tehreek-e-Millat Islamia and Ghaznavi Hind operated. Police claimed the group was a cover for LeT and collaborated with other violent groups as it started to claim responsibility for assaults in 2020, and that TRF is only new in its name.
The J&K Police busted a module of overground workers in Kupwara and Sopore, which had previously served as a significant Lashkar base in the Valley before losing out to Hizbul Mujahideen and Jaish-e-Mohammed. This was one of the first indications that TRF was growing into a potent militant organisation. At Keran, close to the LoC, the police discovered a stash of weapons and ammunition. The OGWs that were apprehended said that they were “hiring youth for the new outfit.”
According to police annual figures, the TRF was responsible for the majority of militant deaths in the Valley in 2022. In addition, 74 of the 100 people who joined militant ranks this year did so with the TRF or the Lashkar.