An all-woman outfit, the Dukhtaraan-e-Millat (DeM) can be categorized as a soft-terrorist outfit in the sense that it uses extra-legal means including threats to impose its doctrines but has not taken to arms so far. The outfit, formed in 1987 has claimed that the Kashmir issue is primarily a religious issue and jehad is mandatory. It also supports the accession of the Kashmir valley with Pakistan. The DeM primarily operates in the Kashmir valley and its present strength is reported to be approximately 350.
The outfit has grabbed attention in spurts due to controversial remarks made by its leader, Ayesha Andrabi, particularly in the context of developments since year 2000. Of late, Ayesha Andrabi has been very vocal in supporting a new outfit named Lashkar-e-Jabbar (LeJ). This outfit has come into the news after its activists reportedly threw acid on two women in Srinagar on August 7 on the grounds that they were not dressed in 'Islamic' style. The Lashkar-e-Jabbar had first announced, that it would begin to use violence against Kashmir Muslims who were not dressed in their version of 'Islamic Dress Codes'. While supporting this, Ayesha Andrabi issued a press statement asking for an extension of this deadline to September 10, a request that was promptly acceeded. Later, in an interview published on September 9, she said that the current campaign was the "beginning of a comprehensive social reform movement based on true Islamic thought" and also asked women in Kashmir to stay away from government jobs. These reactions has led to speculation that the Lashkar-e-Jabbar could be a front for the DeM to renew its campaign directed at implementing its version of 'Islamic' social values.
The Dukhtaraan-e-Millat had also opposed recent peace intiatives in the State. It had rejected the cease-fire declared by Prime Minister A B Vajpayee and criticised persons and organisations that accorded a positive response to the cease-fire, going to the extent of calling upon foreign mercenary outfits such as the Lashkar-e-Toiba to take action against senior leader of the All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC), Abdul Ghani Lone for his reported remarks against Islamic fundamentalist outfits.
Ayesha Andrabi, described as a conservative Muslim and radical feminist, leads this orthodox outfit. The outfit has sought to work in tandem with the insurgency which broke out in 1989. During the 1990's, the outfit was active in organising protests against Kashmiri women who did not adhere to the burqa (veil) system. In May 1993, the DeM issued warnings to the women in Srinagar not to venture outside their houses without wearing the veil. It also organises protests against the alleged display of objectionable literature in Jammu and Kashmir. Another issue that the outfit periodically raises is alleged excess of security forces conducting counter-insurgency operations in the State. It has regularly co-operated with the All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) in organising protest demonstrations on this issue. In June 2000, the DeM called for a strike against alleged custodial killings by the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir.
Security forces are yet to report any instances of terrorist strikes conducted by the DeM though they suspect that activists of the outfit act as couriers of arms and funds for various terrorist outfits operating in the State. The U.S State Department Report of 1995, held a Dukhtaran-e-Millat activist responsible for a parcel bomb blast at the BBC office in Srinagar in which one person was killed and another two injured.
The DeM has recently been linked to certain cases of money laundering. The Jammu & Kashmir Police in May 2002 while ascertaining an Islamabad-London-Srinagar linked hawala (illegal money transfer) network arrested Imtiaz Ahmed Bazaz of Batmaloo. Bazaz, editor and publisher of a Srinagar magazine Mountain Valley reportedly confessed that he had approached Ayub Thakur, the London-based president of World Kashmir Freedom Movement for funneling Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) funds to the Dukhtaran-e-Millat chief Andrabi.
Furthermore, cases have been registered under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) against Andrabi on charges of allegedly receiving money from the ISI through hawala channels. A massive search operation was launched on June 9, 2002 to arrest Andrabi, who has reportedly gone underground. This follows the arrest of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, former chairman of the separatist alliance All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) on June 9 from Srinagar under the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, 1978 for allegedly receiving money from the ISI through hawala channels and for later distributing the same to different terrorist groups, including the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM). According to official sources, because Andrabi's husband Qasim Faktu was the financial chief of Jamait-ul-Mujahideen (JuM), she reportedly started getting money from Ayub Thakur through Imtiaz Bazaz to provide finances to JuM as well as the DeM.Incidents
January 3: The LeT is raising a group of 21 female terrorists at its training camps in PoK for carrying out sabotage activities in India, Army sources said, "We have confirmed reports that LeT is imparting training to 21 selected female terrorists at its training facilities in Muzaffarabad in PoK for carrying out terrorist activities in India," an unnamed Army official said in New Delhi.
Army said the new group, named as Dukhtareen-e-Toiba, is planned to be made active in the Kashmir Valley by the LeT. The women terrorists are planned to be infiltrated into India through routes in Uri sector or using the aerial route through some other country.
DNA quoted sources as saying, "Inputs reveal that 21 girls are being trained by LeT at Divalia, Muzzafarabad, under the name of Dukhtaran-e-Toiba." The group, after training, have been placed under the command of an LeT 'commander', Sayeed Sadaqat Hussain, for future deployment in Kashmir, the sources added.
Intercepts indicate that the new front is being activated since the earlier formation of women DeM led by Asiya Andrabi has not been successful in mobilising people as it had in the past. According to reports, the sources said, the effort is to try and infiltrate these trained cadres into India either through the Uri sector or even Nepal.
Another training camp, according to other information, is located at Turbeladem in PoK in which over 400 terrorists in various groups are being trained and that the facility is being commanded by a senior officer of ISI. The sources said the ISI asked the LeT and other terror groups to carry out attacks against the Indian troops deployed on the LoC. These groups, the reports said, carried out reconnaissance in areas on the other side of the LoC facing the Indian forward defence locations.
October 28: The head of DeM, Aasiya Andrabi, was released from the Central Jail after over a year but was soon re-arrested. Asiya was arrested in 2010 during the summer agitation in August for spearheading the agitation in which over 112 people mostly youth were killed across Kashmir.
June 8: The detained Dukhtaran-e-Millat (DeM) chief, Aasiya Andrabi, was rearrested soon after being set free on bail. The DeM leader was said to have been taken to a special women's Joint Interrogation Centre (JIC) in Jammu.
May 19: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court canceled detention orders under Public Safety Act (PSA) against six persons including chief of Dukhteran-e-Milat Asiya Andrabi.
April 16: Police arrested three alleged killers of Maulana Showkat Shah, Javed Ahmed, Nisar Ahmed and Abdul Ghali Dhar. The three belonged to the former Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen outfit. Police further claimed that the conspiracy of the attack was master-minded jointly by incarcerated, Dr Qasim Fuktoo, and Saut-ul-Haq. Dr. Fuktoo is also the husband of Syeda Asiya Andrabi, chief of DeM.
April 14: Jammu and Kashmir Government has slapped second consecutive PSA against DeM Chief Asiya Andrabi and lodged her in Kote Bhalwal jail in the context of last year's summer agitation.2010
October 5: The Unified Headquarter (UHQ) is also to review the detention of persons who were slapped with Public Safety Act (PSA) during the ongoing agitation in the Valley. Nearly 40 persons were slapped with fresh PSA cases, which include some top separatist leaders like Kashmir High Court Bar Association president Mian Abdul Qayoom and Dukhtaran-e-Millat chief Aasiya Indrabi. Two committees comprising the officers from Civil Administration, Army and Police have been formed for Valley and Jammu regions to review the areas declared "disturbed" under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) so that the Act can be revoked from the areas wherever possible. The Government has already decided to release all the students arrested during the fresh series and dropped charges against them following the advice from the Centre.
August 28: Asiya Andrabi, head of the Dukhtaran-e-Millat (DeM) as well as a hardcore separatist was arrested in Srinagar. She had been evading arrest for the last three months since the violent protests erupted in Kashmir. She is believed to be one of the masterminds of the protests along with Masarat Alam Bhat, leader of the pro-Pakistan Muslim League, and they spearheaded the "Quit Jammu and Kashmir" campaign. Both the DeM and the Muslim League are constituents of the Hurriyat Conference faction led by Syed Ali Geelani. Alam is also carrying a cash reward of INR 300,000 on her head. Asiya shot into prominence in the late 1980s when she launched the DeM essentially against social vices. However, she jumped into the separatist campaign, which began with the armed insurgency in 1990. Andrabi is married to the former militant 'commander' and Islamist separatist leader, Aashiq Hussain Faktoo alias Mohammad Qasim who is serving life imprisonment in the case of murder of rights activist H.N. Wanchoo.
December 10: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has quashed the detention under Public Safety Act of the Dukhtaran-e-Millat (DeM) chief, Syeda Asiya Indrabi, and ordered her release. Quashing the detention, Justice Nirmal Singh said the detention order was not sustainable and it has been passed without application of mind. Asiya was arrested along with her seven associates in September 2005 during their campaign against alleged vices in the State.2002
June 10: Jammu and Kashmir Police invoked the Official Secrets Act (OSA) against senior separatist All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani for allegedly passing on classified documents to Pakistan even as the computer seized from his residence has revealed transactions worth crores of rupees. Commenting on Dukhtaran-e-Millat (DeM) chief Asiya Indrabi, Inspector General of Police (Kashmir Range) K Rajendra Kumar said police had not been able to locate her. As reported earlier, cases have been registered under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) against Indrabi.2001
October 23: The Dukhtaran-e-Millat (DeM) Chief, Syeda Asia Indrabi in a statement on October 23 called for a boycott of products manufactured by the United States and its allies. The statement added that US President George Bush, by waging war on Afghanistan, has "proved himself the worst enemy of Muslim `Uma' (community) and Islam".
September 9: The Dukhtaran-e-Millat (DeM), which has already announced support for the Lashkar-e-Jabbar's campaign, has also asked Kashmiri women to stay away from government jobs. In an interview, DeM's chief Ayesha Andrabi said the current campaign was the "beginning of a comprehensive social reform movement based on true Islamic thought".
May 18: The Dukhtaran-e-Millat (DeT), a separatist outfit, claimed that Pakistan terrorists active in Jammu and Kashmir alone were the 'true representatives of the Kashmiri people' and none else had the right to initiate talks with the India's Union government. Addressing a press conference in Srinagar, the outfit's chief Asiya Andrabi also disputed the claim of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) to be the 'real representatives' of the State's people.