Al-Qaeda announces Kashmir cell: Zakir Musa As the Leader: Outfit for Islamic rule in Kashmir.

 

The appointment of Zakir Rashid Bhat, a breakaway Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander based in south Kashmir, has been appointed head of al-Qaeda in the Indian subcontinent’s new affiliate for the state, Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, the terrorist group’s media wing announced on Thursday.

This is the first time militants linked to al-Qaida have operated openly in Kashmir, site of a decades-long separatist insurgency and the only Muslim-majority region under Indian control.

Zakir Rashid Bhat , aka Zakir Musa, is a Kashmiri mujahideen commander in Kashmir. He was appointed commander after the encounter of former commander of  Hizbul Mujahideen ,Burhan Muzaffar Wani, by the Indian security forces, which led to the 2016 Kashmir Unrest. He is of economically sound family. His brother is Dr. Shakir ,a kashmir based doctor working currently at Bone & joint hospital Barzulla.

He disawowed allegiance to Hizbul Mujahideen in May 2017, and decided to go alone with his band of mujahideen to fight for an Islamic state of Jammu and Kashmir. His move was supported by two other mujahideen organizations Harkat ul Mujahideen and Kashmiri Taliban.

23 years old Musa, whose family name is Zakir Rashid Bhat, comes from a relatively well-off Kashmiri family. His father is a government engineer while brother is a surgeon. Musa himself went to Rama Devi Jindal College, Chandigarh for a BTech degree, but picked up guns on a visit home.

Latest figures show combined Hizbul and Lashkar cadre strength in the valley at 240. Out of this, around half are local recruits. The analysis of the forces is that this cadre won’t be available to Musa and he will have to work hard to build his own cadre. “The handlers of these 240 won’t allow them to work for Al Qaeda or Musa. They are Hizbul cadre and Salahuddin has already condemned Musa,” an officer told sources.

Though political separatist leaders and militant commanders have been denying a link between Kashmir militancy and jihadi movements like Al Qaeda and Islamic State but Musa, who succeeded Wani after his July 2016 killing, in an April video message made his intentions clear.

Musa asked Kashmiris not to “fall for nationalism” as it was a sin in Islam. “I see many people in Kashmir are engaged in a war of nationalism, which is forbidden in Islam. The fight in Jammu and Kashmir should not be for the sake of the state. It should be exclusively for Islam so that sharia is established here.”

The “statement of establishment” was disseminated today on social media by the Global Islamic Media Front, the online propaganda distribution arm of Al-Qaeda.

The message announcing the formation of Ansar Ghazwat ul Hind said its official media would be called al Hurr, which means free independent

The message announcing the formation of Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind said its official media would be called al-Hurr, which means free/independent.

It also released the logo of al-Hurr. Indian intelligence agencies are still trying to ascertain whether Musa loyalties lie with al-Qaida or IS, though he has earlier praised the former’s work. Even though he has never named IS, his statements have mentioned ‘khilafat’ on at least two occasions.

He is at odds with Hurriyat Conference leaders who have tried to distance themselves from the objectives and methods of terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda and ISIS.

Though political separatist leaders and militant commanders have been denying a link between Kashmir militancy and jihadi movements like Al Qaeda and Islamic State but Musa, who succeeded Wani after his July 2016 killing, in an April video message made his intentions clear.

In his last audio clip, the former Hizb commander had slammed Indian Muslims for not coming forward to join Islamic jihad. Recalling multiple instances of lynching of Muslims by cow-vigilantes, Musa shamed them for not standing up for the victims.

In a recorded message released earlier this year, Musa threatened  to behead three separatist leaders for describing their movement as a freedom struggle. The 23-year-old said that the “war” in Kashmir should not be for the sake of “nationalism.” “It should be exclusively for Islam so that sharia is established here,” he said.

Eased out, though not formally expelled, from the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen for threatening leaders of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference in a video released in May, Bhat has struggled to draw recruits to his cause, police sources say. Two potential recruits to his small group recently dropped out after their families received threats from the Hizb.

Ghazwa-e-Hind, from which the new organisation takes its name, is a prophecy attributed, in some Islamic traditions, to Prophet Muhammad, proclaiming that a victorious army rising from the West shall establish Islam in India before the day of judgment.

It is unclear if Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind will operate under the umbrella of al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, led by Uttar Pradesh born Sana-ul-Haq, or report directly to the organisation’s chief, Ayman al-Zawahiri. Haq has long been a proponent of linking the jihad in Kashmir with the wider pan-India jihadist cause.

Hizbul Mujahideen supreme commander Syed Slahuddin the new claimed outfit was part of a conspiracy
courtesy:News 18.com

Hizbul Mujahideen supreme commander  Syed Slahuddin  the new claimed  outfit was part of a “conspiracy by the Indian establishment to create a division among the mujahideen in Kashmir and set the stage for bloodshed in Kashmir on the lines of what had happened in al-Qaeda and Islamic State-influenced theatres like Afghanistan, Iraq, Turkey etc”.

Salahuddin in a video message denounced Musa saying groups like Al Qaeda will damage Kashmir’s movement. “There is no scope or room for any international organization like Daesh (Islamic State) and Al Qaeda, we don’t need them nor is there any necessity for their presence. We fight for azadi and Islam. We denounce those who are creating hurdles and misguide people in the name of sharia and sahadat,” Salahuddin said.

Indian intelligence sources suspect that new outfit under Musa could work in tandem with al-Qaida in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) headed by Sambhal resident Asim Umar. Recently, AQIS had released documents through its media wing As Sahab calling for attacks on the Indian police, military and secret agencies, apart from leaders of Hindu “separatist” organisations.

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