Zakir Threatens to ‘Behead’ Hurriyat Leaders

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Srinagar: A video slideshow in which Hizbul Mujahideen militant commander Zakir Rashid alias Zakir Musa is purportedly speaking about establishing an Islamic caliphate in Kashmir and threatening Hurriyat leadership with beheadings is making rounds on social media.

In the 5.40-minute long clip the speaker claims that struggle in Kashmir was not a political but an “Islamic movement” and threatens to hang Hurriyat leaders at city centre Lal Chowk if they become thorn in way of implementation of Shariah.

Opening his audio message with the statement that the joint Hurriyat leadership has termed the Kashmir’s struggle as a political movement, Zakir, who is believed to have replaced Burhan Wani as a successor, threatens the Hurriyat leaders of dire consequences.

The Urdu language video clip contained a montage of slides showing quotes of jailed Indonesian national Abu Bakar Bashir and Yemeni resident Anwar al-Awlaki — seen as the brains behind ISIS and Al-Qaeda activities.

The person who is heard in the clip is not shown. He did not identify himself but is believed to be Zakir.

“Some days back the joint resistance leaders issued a statement saying Kashmir struggle is political and it has nothing to do with religion.

Labelling the Hurriyat leaders as “hypocrites”, he said “Why they are using mosques and other Islamic symbols and slogans if they believe that the struggle is political.”

“We just want to ask these political hypocrites if Kashmir is a political issue why are you raising slogans like ‘Azadi Ka Matlab Kya, La Illaha Ilallah’, ‘Pakistan Say Rishta Kya, La Illaha Ilallah’. Why do you come and address people in mosques?”

Zakir said Kashmir struggle is for implementation of Shariah and supremacy of Islam.

“Don’t try to be thorn in our way. People don’t need to get confused. We are not bothered about what people say or think. We are happy if people oppose us because the truth has always been opposed. We need unity on the basis oneness of God and not with collaborators. They will tomorrow say idol worship is fine,” he said.

“Muslim world is suffering from a lot of confusion,” Zakir said adding, “Some people suggest me that I should not meddle into this. I am not a scholar or religious preacher but those who could say this are silent fearing retribution from the state. We have to speak on it”.

Zakir, who took over as Hizb chief in Kashmir after killing of Burhan Wani on July 8 last year, said they (Hurriyat leaders) invoke Islam but seek resolution of Kashmir issue from United Nations and international community.

“They are political leaders and not Islamic leaders. We ask them not to become thorns in way of implementation of Shariah. We will hang them in Lal Chowk if they again try to block our path,” Zakir said.

“You are our big problem. If you have to run this dirty politics, run it in your homes. If we have to implement the Shariah, we have to implement it on ourselves,” he said.

The threat is likely the first against the Hurriyat leadership, who are acknowledged to represent the political face of Kashmiri struggle for right to self determination.

There was no immediate confirmation about the source or authenticity of the audio.

But if the voice is that of Zakir, it may signal a worrying turn in Kashmir’s insurgency. The movement so far has largely been about independence or annexation with Pakistan, without emphasising Islam or connecting it to jihad.

The Hizbul Mujahideen is nearly as old as the Kashmiri militancy which started in 1989. The group is made up almost entirely of local youths, and had always campaigned for joining Pakistan.

The clip surfaced after a recent move by Hurriyat leaders to downplay fears of the growing influence of the ISIS in the Valley.

Earlier this week, Resistance troika Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Yasin Malik issued a joint statement in which they said that the Kashmir struggle had nothing to do with the ISIS, Al-Qaida and other such organisations.

PTI quoting senior police officials said they (police) believed it was Zakir Musa’s voice in the slideshow and claimed the ISIS could be trying to create a base in the Valley.

Last month, two masked gunmen appeared at the grave of a Hizbul Mujahideen militant in Pulwama during which they asked the gathering to follow the rules laid down by the Taliban and ISIS, and not support or raise slogans in favour of Pakistan.

For over three minutes, they spoke about pan-Islamisation and the importance of having Shariat as a law and fled after firing shots in the air.

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