India bans pro-independence group in Kashmir

India has banned a pro-independence group in its portion of Kashmir as part of a crackdown on separatist organizations.

A government statement says its declared Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front an "unlawful association" as it tries to curb the activities of secessionist organizations posing a threat to the country's unity and integrity.

The group's leader, Yasin Malik, was arrested recently in a counteroffensive against dissent following a Feb. 14 suicide attack that killed 40 Indian soldiers in Kashmir. Over a thousand people have been arrested since then.

Insurgent groups have been fighting for Kashmir's independence from India or its merger with Pakistan since 1989.

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan since they won independence from British colonialists in 1947. Both claim the region in its entirety.