Srinagar: Senior militants from al-Qaida’s central command have released a video calling on Muslims in Kashmir to follow the example of “brothers” in Syria and Iraq and wage a jihad against India, a media report said Saturday.
The video, which cites the “new Afghanistan being created in Syria” as inspiration, is the first to specifically target Kashmir.
Entitled “War should continue, message to the Muslims of Kashmir”, the video was uploaded in recent days to a website where statements by other leaders of al-Qaida and its affiliates have been released in the past, according to ‘The Guardian’.
In the video Kashmiri Muslims are urged to join the global jihadi movement.
“Now Muslims all over the world have picked up arms … are marching in the field of jihad. Even those who rejected armed jihad are now joining this path after being disillusioned with democratic ways of peaceful protests,” it says.
The video mentions Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Algeria and other theatres of recent militancy as inspirations to aspirant militants. It also refers to “attacks” in Europe, such as the killing of soldier Lee Rigby in London last year.
The video appears to have been produced by As Sahab, al-Qaida’s in-house media production unit, and includes a statement read by Maulana Asim Umar, a leader of al-Qaida’s Pakistan cell. It begins with a montage of pictures of violent demonstrations in Kashmir in 2010, in which scores of civilian protesters were killed by Indian security forces, and shows pictures of the famous Dal Lake.
Specific messages are addressed to Kashmiri Muslims living on both sides of the de facto border between Pakistan and India, as well as to the broader Muslim populations of both countries, the report said.
The video promises a “caravan” of “heroic martyrs” coming from Afghanistan to “liberate Kashmir”.
It said it is unclear when the video was made, although its production apparently preceded the advances made by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) in Iraq this week.
“However, the timing of its release will underline the impression that senior al-Qaida leaders based in Pakistan, who have suffered heavy losses in recent years, are increasingly marginal to the global jihadi movement,” the newspaper said.
Led by Ayman al-Zawahiri, an Egyptian-born veteran militant who took over after the death of Osama bin Laden in May 2011, the group has made increasing efforts in recent years to mobilise the nearly half a billion Muslims who live in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.
Zawahiri released a set of strategic guidelines last year that mentioned Kashmir. Last July, a cleric who has been linked to al-Qaida issued a video statement that reprimanded Indian Muslims for their supposed lack of interest in “global jihad”.