SRINAGAR Normal life across Kashmir Valley was severely affected on Saturday due to a curfew imposed by government and strike called by Hurriyat Conference (G) led by Syed Ali Geelani over the killing of Zakir Musa, Kashmirs most wanted militant commander, who headed the Al Qaeda affiliate Ansar Gazwatul Hind.
Reports said that authorities imposed strict restrictions in parts of Srinagars Old City including Nowhatta, M R Gunj, Khaniyar, Rainawari and other areas. Restrictions were also imposed in parts o south Kashmir districts including Pulwama, Anantnag, Shopian and Kulgam.
Shops and other business establishments remained closed while public transport remained completely off the roads but a very few private vehicles could be seen plying on roads.
Schools, colleges and universities remained closed on the orders of the authorities while high speed mobile internet also remained shut for the third running day. There were reports of minor stone pleting clashes at Parimpora, Eidgah and some other parts. However there were no reports about injury to anyone in the clashes.
Born in an affluent family of Noorpora village in volatile Tral region of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district, Zakir Rashid Bhat alias Zakir Musa was killed on Friday and he succeeded Burhan Muzzafar Wani as the divisional commander of Hizbul Mujahideen in Kashmir soon after he was killed in an encounter on July 8, 2016.
Zakir, who was in his mid-twenties, joined militant ranks after quitting engineering studies at a Chandigarh college in 2013. He joined the Burhan Wani’s core group of militants based in Tral. Zakir grew very close to his predecessor and hit headlines first time in 2015 after his picture along with another militant Lateef Tiger went viral on social media. The picture, in which Zakir and Lateef were in casuals, was clicked somewhere in Srinagar, sending the security establishment into the tizzy that time.
Days after Burhan Wani’s killing, Musa issued a maiden video statement, calling on people to continue the agitation and described Kashmir’s movement as the movement for Islam. In several other videos, he was seen giving arms training to the new recruits inside a residential house at an undisclosed location.
However, Zakir Musa shot to prominence in May 2017 after he termed the Kashmir movement as a struggle for the establishment of Islam and not for nationalism or secularism. Later he formed his own outfit Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, which is believed to be linked to Al Qaida in the Indian subcontinent, and reiterated his pan-Islamist stand.
With the killing of Zakir, who was the top-most militant commander to die since 2017, the cadre strength of Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind has now reduced to three, according to top security sources.