A few days after breaking away from the Hizbul Mujahideen, radical militant leader Zakir Musa declared on Monday that he has put his differences with other separatists on the backburner for the cause of Kashmir’s “liberation”.
A fresh audio clip released by Musa alias Zakir Rashid Bhat has called for unity among all ranks of Kashmiri militants until India’s hold over the land is negated. However, that did not prevent him from reiterating his call for Islamic rule, and stating that he will always prefer fighting beside militants who believe in “sharia or sahadat (establishing Islamic rule or attaining martyrdom)”. The former Hizbul commander even thanked the al-Qaeda in Afghanistan for using his slogan in their magazine, the Navae Afghan Jihad.
In the seven-minute clip released on Monday, Musa said nobody will be allowed to “take advantage” of the existing ideological differences between Kashmiri separatists. “Let us first fight the Indian occupation, and then take care of other problems,” he added.
Musa denied reports that he had formed a separate group or joined another organisation after quitting the Hizbul Mujahideen. “We are fighting under the banner of tawhid (oneness of God),” he said.
The militant leader then waxed eloquent against the taghoot-e-nizam (evil state), referring to Pakistan, and said he does not believe in the concept of nations or organisations. Referring to the support extended by lesser known militant groups Kashmiri Taliban and Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, he said: “I want to tell them that I won’t be taking orders from people sitting on carpets in Pakistan. Allah is enough for me.”
Quoting Parliament attack accused Afzal Guru, Musa said those looking at Pakistan, America and the United Nations for support were not true jihadists.
Musa reportedly took over the reins of the Hizbul Mujahideen in Kashmir after the encounter killing of Burhan Wani by security forces last year. The incident sparked violence in the Valley for months afterwards.
Musa, who is in his early twenties, studied engineering at a college in Chandigarh before taking up arms against the Indian administration. His brother is an orthopaedic surgeon at a Srinagar hospital.
Immediately after taking over the reins of the Hizbul Mujahideen, the militant issued threats against police informers and law-enforcement personnel from the Valley. He also warned the police of dire consequences if they harassed the families of militants.
Musa severed ties with the Hizbul Mujahideen last week, hours after the outfit denounced his statement that separatist leaders from the Hurriyat Conference would be beheaded if they became a hurdle in Kashmir’s road to becoming an Islamic state. The militant was apparently ticked off by a May 8 statement by the separatists that the “freedom struggle in Kashmir has nothing to do with ISIS and al-Qaeda”.
The separatist leader also warned Kashmiris against donating money in his name. “Those who demand money are not my men,” he said.
The spectre of the previous threat issued by Musa, however, wasn’t completely dispelled. “Even if we do kill a hypocrite, we will release a video owning up to it. This way, no confusion will be created,” Musa said in the new clip.