Srinagar: Zakir Rashid Bhat, a close aide of slain Hizb commander Burhan Wani, has posted a video message asking youths to stay away from police recruitments.
According to the Indian Express, Bhat has asked youths to skip police recruitment and to continue the ongoing protests in Kashmir.
Zakir, the report said, described recruitment of special police officers — recently advertised by police— as a plot to create a divide among people in the Valley.
“These people want to create an Ikhwan (counter-insurgency group operating in the Valley in the 1990s) and want to make Kashmiris fight with each other. Youth should stay away from such conspiracies and not take part in it [engagement of SPOs],” he said.
“Whosoever takes part in it will be himself responsible for his life,” he warned.
22-year-old Zakir, who studied civil engineering in Chandigarh before joining militant ranks in 2013, was seen as the successor of Burhan Wani.
The 21-year-old, a former student of engineering in a Chandigarh college, was chosen as the new southern chief of Hizbul and given nom de guerre of MehmoodGhaznavi, as was reported by dna on July 13. Previously believed to be someone who keeps a low profile, Zakir had appeared on a 50 second video released by the Hizbul, two weeks ago, but did not choose to speak during the recording which was taken in a forest believed to be in south Kashmir.
"We are thankful to all the Kashmiris who are risking their lives and have come in defence of the Islamic movement. It is incumbent on us that we stand with these sacrifices/keep moving in this direction and lead this new beginning to its logical end," Zakir is heard saying. Zakir goes on to talk about four chosen topics that included recruitment of Kashmiri locals to revive "Ikhwanis", panchayat elections, Burhan Wani, Indian media, security forces and the current agitation itself.
"I am neither a commander nor the chief of any outfit. I am soldier of Allah who wants to alert/forewarn you of India's nefarious designs India is conspiring by recruiting special police officers (SPOs). They are trying to revive Ikhwan in Kashmir. They want Kashmiris among themselves. Do not take part in it (recruitment drive) and those who participate will be responsible for their death". He further goes on to say the same about the panchayat elections.
While talking about Burhan Wani, Zakir goes on to speak about 'Indian media' accusing publications of "propagating Indian point of view”. He goes on to say, "I have stayed in many states in India, and I believe that there is some humanity left in India. However the media projects us as terrorists who are perpetrating excesses on the local Kashmiri population. Whereas Indian forces are shown as protecting the local population.
This is a lie. If we were oppressing our own people then so many of them would not have supported us,".
Towards the end of the video, in what could be considered a veiled message for separatist leadership in Kashmir, Zakir says, "We will listen to only Allah. This time there will be no deals. This time the strikes will continue and our struggle will continue till we do not get Azaadi".
Security agencies, which are already battling to maintain law and order situation in the valley, the video signals more bad news. According to a senior security official, the video messages, which are being used as a "propaganda tool" will only provoke youth in the valley to engage in street protests. More than 70 people have been killed during the ongoing crisis in Kashmir.
Be Part of Quality Journalism
Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.