- Move bans US citizens, residents from dealing with Hizbul Mujahideen
- US has already designated group's leader Syed Salahuddin global terrorist
- US said the group had claimed responsibility for several attacks in J&K
In a statement, the US State Department said Hizbul Mujahideen has been designated as a foreign terrorist organisation and a specially designated global terrorist under different laws.
The State Department designation bans US citizens and residents from dealing with the group, and any assets found to belong to the Hizbul Mujahideen in areas under US jurisdiction will be frozen.
"These designations seek to deny HM (Hizbul Mujahideen) the resources it needs to carry out terrorist attacks," it said.
Such designations, however, have had limited impact on functioning of terrorist groups in Jammu and Kashmir. Hizbul chief Syed Salahuddin was designated a "global terrorist" by the United States during Prime Minister Narendra Modi visit to the country.
But Salahuddin continues to operate freely in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir and had, along with Pakistan, denounced the US move.
"We should take the step for what it is," Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar had underlined back in June during PM Modi's US visit, decoding what the US calling Salahuddin a global terrorist would achieve.
"It is fixing responsibility, highlighting the problem. There is a signalling out of it, it is focusing on a particular group and particular individual. None of us can really miss that message," Mr Jaishankar said.
For India, the US ban on Salahuddin and the Hizbul is seen as a diplomatic victory, particularly since it is one of the largest group operating in Kashmir. It is also the only major terror outfit in the Kashmir valley that focuses on recruiting local youth to its ranks who are projected as "freedom fighters".
It was this narrative that seemed to have found some acceptance in the US administration which had blacklisted outfits such as the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and Jaish-e-Mohammed in 1997 and 2001 respectively, but had spared the Hizbul.