21 Sep 17/Thursday   

Zakir Musa was the first to break ranks with traditional militant gangs and float a new organisation. He brought the idea of Caliphate in Kashmir struggle. He gave the struggle an Islamic overtone. Musa’s supporters, arguing that Pakistani flags in which bodies of dead militants were wrapped at funerals were un-Islamic since they did carry a Kalma, began wrapping militants’ bodies in black, Islamic (Tawheed) flags. Crowds attending these funerals began chanting Musa’s name. Graffiti bearing his name and now his signature slogan — Shariyat ya Shahaadat — began appearing on walls across the Valley. Slogans in praise of Musa were reportedly chanted at Srinagar’s Jamia Masjid where Deputy Superintendent of Police Ayyub Pandith was lynched on June 22. The slogans were also chanted at the funeral of three Hizb operatives who were recently killed in Budgam, and also in the case of funeral of Abu Dujana, former LeT chief of Kashmir who later went on to join Musa’s Al Qaeda faction. In all these cases the militants were wrapped in Tawheed flags instead of Pakistani flags a big departure from past.

Musa’s popularity has even jolted the chiefs of the two biggest anti-India terror groups based— Hibzul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Salahuddin, the chief of Hizb and United Jehad Council released several video clips with remarkable frequency, trying to reclaim ground lost to Musa.

In a statement released on July 27 he said, “Kuch hamare dost dushman ke haath mein khel kar, qayadat ki yaksui mein khalal daal kar nuksaan phonchane ki koshish kar rahe hain. In harkaat se unko fayda nahi milega, ‘shariat aur shahadat’ logon mein confusion paida karega… daesh ya al qaida ki jammu Kashmir mein na koi gunjaish na koi zarurat hai – (Some of our friends playing into the hands of our enemy, have been creating a confusion among in the leadership. These acts won’t benefit them. ‘Shariyat ya Shahadat’ will only create confusion…. Daesh or Al Qaeda don’t have a space or requirement in Jammu and Kashmir).”

Lashkar-e-Taiba, equally rattled, also issued a statement in July calling Al Qaeda an Indian conspiracy and advising people against joining it.

“Wo ladai karega to samaan kahan se laayega? Al Qaeda ka uske liye samaan helicopter se bhejegi? Usse puucho agar Pakistan use nahi pasand to apni gun waapas kyun nahi deta? ISIS and Al Qaeda ki koi bisaat nahi hai idhar (From where will Musa get the guns to fight? Will Al Qaeda air-drop weapons from a helicopter? ISIS and Al Qaeda have no space in Kashmir),” said Najaf (name changed), from a village in central Kashmir, whose 14 family members have either died, or are right now, fighting for Hizb.

All the above developments marginalised the role of Pakistan and its proxy terror groups, which left it deeply worried over the new developments.

Though Musa’s grand entry through Al Qaeda excited many in the Valley but deeply fragmented the militant organisation which have now become deeply suspicious of each other. This has further weekend the militants.

“Zakir ka hona ek bohot badi baat hai. Usne ek nayi jaan phoonk di hai tehreek mein. Aaj uski baat se aaj kaun ittefaaq nahi rakhta ki maslaa-e-Kashmir ek siyasi maslaa nahi hai. Ye ek deeni masla hai(Zakir’s presence is a big factor. He’s breathed a new life in the struggle. Who doesn’t agree with his views that the issue of Kashmir is not a political issue but a religious issue),” said Shakeel Bakshi, one of the founding members of the pro-Azadi Islamic Students League.

He has also to his credit the threat to behead Hurriyat leaders if they did not desist from seeking political solution of Kashmir problem, another first of its kind. This generated a lot of negative publicity for Hurriyat, which eventually helped the Government of India in launching NIA probe against them, without inviting any major backlash. This has prompted other militant organisations to declare Zakir Musa as Indian agent but the fact remains that zakir Musa’s entry has helped the Government forces in combating the militancy in a very effective manner.