Top Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) commander Zakir Rashid Bhat has purportedly come out with a new video where he is heard saying the militancy should not aim to create a new nation of Kashmir but for the supremacy of Islam.
The 11-minute grainy video message was full of Islamic injunctions but surprisingly devoid of words like ‘Azadi’ or ‘Pakistan’.
In the video which went viral on social media on Wednesday, the 23-year-old Bhat urges youth who throw stones at security forces to “check their intent”.
“I want to tell my stone-pelting brothers that they should check their motives as to why they are fighting when they pick up stones (against Indian forces). I want to tell these brothers that they should not fall for nationalism,” he said.
Bhat along with another commander Sabzar Ahmad have emerged as the successors to Hizbul commander Burhan Wani whose death last July triggered massive protests in Kashmir valley that claimed at least 90 lives and left thousands injured.
After leaving engineering to join militancy in 2013, Bhat came out with his first video message in August 2016 asking the people of Kashmir to continue the agitation till the region achieves its goal of “azadi”.
In the latest video, Bhat said that he has observed that most of the people in Kashmir were involved in a nationalistic fight which was ‘haraam (not permissible)’ in Islam. “Nationalism and democracy are not permissible in Islam,” said Bhat.
The militancy in Kashmir started after the pro-independence Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front took to arms with slogans like ‘Is paar bhi lenge, Azadi; Us paar bhi lenge, Azadi’ (We will achieve freedom on this side of border as well as on the other side of border). However the group was soon outflanked by many pro-Islamic and pro-Pakistan groups like HM, Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen and Al-Jihad.
“When we pick up stones or guns it should not be with this intention that we are fighting for Kashmir (as a nation). The sole motive should be for the supremacy of Islam so that Shariah is established here,” Bhat said whose HM is the only surviving indigenous group of Kashmir.
In an indirect dig at separatists leaders, Bhat said people had put their trust on the UN (United Nations) and United States. “We should surrender before Allah and see how help arrives. But we have expectations from UN and USA,” he said.
Among the separatist leaders, hardliner Syed Ali Geelani and women group leader Asiya Andrabi have been openly Islamic and pro-Pakistan. Shabir Shah has been maintaining that people should be the sole judge to decide their fate. While JKLF Chief Yasin Malik has been a supporter of Kashmiri nationalism.
The militant commander also targeted local police and informers for their “anti Islamic acts of joining the evil”. “I am advising them to come back. You have joined them so you are same for us; whether police or army,” Bhat said.