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Zakir Musa heading Al-Qaeda in Kashmir?

Family members mourn Tauseef Ahmad, a Hizbul Mujahideen militant killed in an encounter, in Kashmir on Thursday. Zakir Musa quit the Hizb in May.

Family members mourn Tauseef Ahmad, a Hizbul Mujahideen militant killed in an encounter, in Kashmir on Thursday. Zakir Musa quit the Hizb in May.  

Reports say the global terror group has announced the establishment of a Kashmir-based wing

 

The counter-insurgency cell of the J&K police is monitoring the write-ups and the propaganda material of the Al-Qaeda that mention Zakir Musa as the commander of its new Kashmir group.

A top police officer told The Hindu that the cell was keeping a watch on Musa, a Kashmir-born militant, whose name first appeared in an Arabic publication close to the Al-Qaeda in May.

“We are monitoring the Musa group’s activity and its connections across the borders,” the officer said.

New terror group

The U.K.-based Guardian newspaper reported that Al-Qaeda “has formally announced the establishment of a new Kashmir-based terror group Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind headed by Musa.

The Global Islamic Media Front, the online propaganda distribution arm of Al-Qaeda, has also mentioned Musa’s name.

On May 13, Musa quit the Hizbul Mujahideen after the United Jehad Council took exception to his statement threatening to “behead separatist leaders, especially those who describe Kashmir as a mere political issue” and not a religious war for an Islamic state.

Musa hails from a middle-class family. One of his brothers is a doctor in the Tral area of Pulwama. Musa joined the militant ranks during slain commander Burhan Wani’s recruitment drive in 2013-14.

Growing difference

The growing difference between Musa and the council, a conglomerate of militant outfits operating from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, came to the fore on the first death anniversary of Wani in the first week of July.

In a statement issued in Srinagar on Thursday, the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) alleged that India was trying to label the legitimate freedom struggle of Kashmir as terrorism by implying the entry of terror groups such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS into the Valley. “[National Security Adviser] Ajit Doval is up to this conspiracy. We would like to inform the masses that the militant groups, with their mutual understanding and unity, are fighting against Indian forces.

Not for discord

“On the other hand, groups such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS are being brought up to label the legitimate freedom struggle as terrorism. Al-Qaeda and ISIS thrive on takfeer [discord]. All that they have done has greatly affected Muslims and brought upon them injustice, brutality and oppression. This conspiracy is far more dangerous,” LeT spokesman Mehmood Shah said.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 10:04:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/zakir-musa-heading-al-qaeda-in-kashmir/article19372503.ece

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