Zakir Musa announced as head of new al-Qaida-linked cell


An al-Qaida-affiliated propaganda channel has announced one of Kashmir’s ‘popular’ militant leaders as the head of a newly created cell in the Valley, UK based newspaper The Guardian reported.

Importantly, with the announcement of Musa being head of its unit, al-Qaida has announced its operations openly in Kashmir Valley for the first time.

Musa, 23, was earlier expelled from the Hizbul Mujahideen group after he openly threatened Hurriyat leaders of dire consequences if they related the Kashmir issue as a political one.

Musa, according to the paper, was announced as the head of the new cell, named Ansar Ghawzat-Ul-Hind. The creation of the new group was revealed in a statement released on Thursday by Global Islamic Media Front, an al-Qaida-affiliated information network. Although the Al-Qaida announced the establishment of an Indian wing in 2014 but like ISIS, it too has garnered little support among Kashmir’s Muslim population.

Musa had earlier released a video message, asking people not to “fall for nationalism”.

“I see that many people in Kashmir are engaged in a war of nationalism, which is forbidden in Islam,” Musa had said in a video message in April this year. The fight in the region should “not be for the sake of Kashmir”, he added. “It should be exclusively for Islam so that Sharia is established here.”

Another video released by Musa’s group in April attacked Pakistan for the first time, declaring: “There is no Islam [there] at present, so we are unhappy with it. We have to do jihad with Pakistan as well.”

Resistance and militant groups in Kashmir however, distanced themselves from the statements of Musa.

The Separatist leadership has been at pains to distance the movement from groups such as Al-Qaida and ISIS, saying in May they had “nothing to do with our struggle and are non-existent in Jammu and Kashmir”.


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