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Al-Qaeda Announces New Unit In Kashmir, Zakir Musa As The Leader

"Dead man walking".

28/07/2017 11:06 AM IST | Updated 28/07/2017 11:37 AM IST
Hindustan Times via Getty Images
SRINAGAR, INDIA - JULY 8: Kashmiri children stand next to graffiti that reads War till Victory and a militant commander Zakir Musa during curfew in Lal Chowk area, on July 8, 2017 in Srinagar, India.

The terrorist group al-Qaeda has set up a new unit, named Ansar Ghawzat-Ul-Hind, in Kashmir, with 23-year-old Zakir Musa, a former commander of the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, at its helm.

A statement by al-Qaeda's Global Islamic Media Front read, "After the martyrdom of heroic Mujahid Burhan Wani the Jihad in Kashmir has entered a stage of awakening, as the Muslim Nation of Kashmir has committed to carry the flag of Jihad to repel the aggression of tyrant Indian invaders, and through Jihad, and with the aid of Allah only, we will liberate our homeland Kashmir."

"For this goal, a new movement of Jihad has been founded by the companions of martyr Burhan Wani under the leadership of Mujahid Zakir Musa," it said.

The statement is titled, "Foundation of New Movement of Jihad in Kashmir."

The Indian Express reported that Indian security officials don't believe that Musa's new group will have impact on the ground. A senior police official in South Kashmir told the newspaper, "Frankly, this is underwhelming in its significance" and that Musa is a "dead man walking."

Musa, who dropped out of Ram Dev Jindal College in Chandigarh after failing his first term examination, has advocated for Sharia law in the Kashmir Valley. 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.

In May, top Hurriyat leaders said, "Our movement has nothing to do with these world level groups and practically they are nonexistent in the state. There is no role for these groups in our movement."

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.

Other terrorist organizations active in the Valley, Hizbul Mujahideen and Lakshar-e-Taiba, have slammed the new group. Both groups said that Musa's unit was a conspiracy hatched by the Indian government.

Musa disassociated himself from Hizbul Mujahideen in May. In a video statement, Syed Salahuddin, the head of Hizbul Mujahideen said, there was no room for "al-Qaeda, Daesh or any other third outfit" in the Kashmir Valley.

In a statement, LeT said, "Indian conspiracies are being foiled ever since the locals and Hurriyat leaders forged unity among themselves...groups like al-Qaida and IS are being brought up to label the legitimate freedom struggle (in Kashmir) as terrorism."

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