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Last Updated : May 24, 2019 06:15 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Who was Zakir Musa, one of the most dreaded militants in Kashmir?

Zakir Musa succeeded Burhan Wani as the emir of Hizbul Mujahideen for a while before quitting it to form his own group, owing to ideological differences.

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Slain terrorist Zakir Musa (File Photo)
Slain terrorist Zakir Musa (File Photo)

On May 23, a joint operation by Indian Army’s 42 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) and a Special Operations Group (SOG) of the Jammu and Kashmir Police successfully eliminated one of the most-dreaded terrorists of the Valley.

Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind Chief Zakir Musa was holed up inside the house of a chemist in Dadsara village of Kashmir’s Tral region, when he died in an encounter with the forces.

The owner of the house where he was hiding was sent in for negotiation. However, Musa refused to surrender, reported Defence News.

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Zakir Musa has been on the most-wanted list of the forces for years. Two years ago, he was almost captured by the Indian Army but managed to flee as some stone-pelters gave him cover.

 

Who is Zakir Musa?

Zakir Rashid Bhat alias Zakir Musa hailed from a humble background, just like most radicalised youth in the Valley. The 28-year-old belonged to an educated, middle-class family in Noorpora; his father is a senior engineer with the state government, and one of his brothers is a doctor in Tral.

Musa himself was a civil engineering student from a Chandigarh College. He was recruited to Hizbul Mujahideen in 2013 during one of the recruitment drives by then-Chief Burhan Wani. It happened while he was on a visit to his village for a vacation. The two remained close associates until 2016 when Indian security forces gunned down Wani.

Musa succeeded Wani as the emir of the terror outfit for a while before quitting it to form his own group, owing to ideological differences. The rift started developing with him repudiating a merger with Pakistan as the objective of his “jihad”.

He openly announced his ambition to establish an Islamic Caliphate in Kashmir. He even issued death-threats to Hurriyat leaders for calling the Kashmiri struggle political and not Islamic. At this point, Hizb refused to back his statement, leading him to break away from its ranks.

He soon came to symbolize a new generation of Islamist terrorists operating in Kashmir. They were far more radical, violent, and actively using social media to profess their belief system. They were also typically slightly more educated than the terrorists of the past.

Musa was also held in high regard in the Islamist terror circuit because of his association with the al-Qaeda. Since the time he launched the Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, several youths in the Valley were seen brandishing al-Qaeda and ISIS flags.

Last year, his group released a video where Musa could be seen exhorting Indian Muslims to attack Indian Army personnel and employees of companies looking at investing in India. They also published material that urged the Muslim youth to carry out lone wolf attacks across India.

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First Published on May 24, 2019 12:54 pm
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