Srinagar: Estranged Hizbul Mujahideen militant Zakir Musa, who Al Qaeda recently claimed to have joined them, seems to be having trouble in finding recruits in Kashmir. The state’s top police officer estimates that only five militants have joined him.
Musa’s pictures were shared on social media after Al-Qaeda named him as head of new cell, Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind. The official media outlet of the cell has been named Al Hurr. Musa quit Hizb after the outfit distanced itself from his open threat to Hurriyat leaders and his call for fighting for a caliphate instead of the right to self-determination.
Even after disassociating from Hizb, Musa continued to urge the people of Kashmir to stop draping the bodies of militants in the Pakistan flag and instead use the Islamic flag.
That urging, too, did not find many followers as people continued to drape bodies of militants in the Pakistan flag at their funerals.
The government’s security agencies maintain that of the more than 250 militants active in the Valley, only five to six have joined Musa. Director General of Police Shesh Paul Vaid told Kashmir Reader that only five militants have joined Zakir Musa’s new group.
Vaid, however, refused to comment on whether Al-Qaeda has acceptance in Kashmir or not. “The answer lies with the people, not me,” Vaid said.
Syed Salahuddin, the chief of United Jihad Council, an umbrella group of militant outfits operating in Kashmir, has said that there is no room for organisations like Daesh (Islamic State) and Al Qaeda in Kashmir. Salahudin said that militants in Kashmir were fighting for Azadi and Islam.
“Groups like Al Qaeda are harming the freedom movement,” he had said.
Hizb commander Riyaz Naikoo had on Sunday appeared at the funeral of a militant where he said that the Pakistani flag was “our flag”. He said that a deliberate attempt was being made to defame the freedom struggle of Kashmiris by linking it to Al-Qaeda and ISIS.
He said that “whether we are Deobandis, Barelvi or Ahl-Hadith, we are one.”