From Hizbul to Al-Qaeda: Who Is Slain Militant Zakir Musa?
Zakir Musa.
Zakir Musa.(Photo: The Quint)

From Hizbul to Al-Qaeda: Who Is Slain Militant Zakir Musa?

Zakir Musa, the chief of Al-Qaeda's Kashmir cell and Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, was killed by security forces in south Kashmir’s Tral area on Thursday, 23 May.

The militants were trapped during a cordon and search operation. The forces were fired upon by the militants trapped inside a house.

Musa had succeeded Burhan Wani as Hizb-ul Mujahideen’s divisional commander for south Kashmir after Burhan was killed by security forces in July 2016.

Also Read : ‘Secular’ Hizb vs ‘Religious’ Musa: Encounter Reignites Debate 

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Who Was Zakir Musa?

Zakir Rashid Bhat, his real name, was an engineering student in Chandigarh who abandoned education and joined militancy.

He was born in Noorpora village of Tral area. His father, Abdul Rashid Bhat, is a senior engineer working for the Jammu and Kashmir government.

The killing of Zakir Musa is seen as a big success for the security forces in their anti-militancy operations in Kashmir. Authorities have suspended mobile Internet services in Awantipora area of Pulwama as a precaution.

Authorities have ordered closure of all schools and colleges in the Kashmir Valley on Friday.

Musa Threatened to Kill Kashmiri Separatists

After Burhan Wani's death, Zakir Musa threatened to behead Kashmiri separatist leaders of the Hurriyat Conference for calling Kashmir a political dispute instead of a religious struggle to establish an Islamic state.

The 25-year-old militant had threatened to kill Hurriyat leaders two years ago if they spoke for nationalism and deny that the struggle in Kashmir was for the establishment of strict Islamic code.

The Hizbul Mujahideen, the largest group of local militants, condemned his statement saying they have nothing to do with his Islamist assertions.

Musa then ended his association with the outfit on 13 May 2017.

In July 2017, the Global jihadi network Al Qaeda on announced the establishment of its unit in Jammu and Kashmir, naming former Musa as its chief in the troubled state. The new cell had been named Ansar Ghawzat-ul-Hind.

“For this goal, a new movement of jihad has been founded by the companions of Wani under the leadership of Zakir Musa,” the statement said.

(With PTI and IANS inputs)

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