May 2017 News

Musa Quits Hizbul After Outfit Dismisses Beheading Remark

13 May 2017
Times of India
M Saleem Pandit

Srinagar: Slamming Hizbul Mujahideen for calling the Kashmir struggle a 'political' and not an 'Islamic' struggle, Zakir Rashid, alias Commander Musa, quit the banned terrorist organisation on Saturday. Musa, who was made the commander of Hizbul Mujahideen after the killing of Burhan Wani, declared in a six-minute audio clip on Youtube, 'If Hizbul Mujahideen does not represent me, I also do not represent Hizb.' Delivering his speech in Urdu, Musa said, 'From now on, I am not associated with any organisation... From today, I am not associated with any party... Let us see, who is with me and who is not.' On Friday, Musa had threatened to behead Hurriyat leaders and display their heads in Lal Chowk for interfering in the militant group's 'struggle for Islam'. Reacting to Musa's threat, Hizbul Mujhadeen spokesperson Salim Hashmi said in a statement on Saturday that Musa's remark was being evaluated and the outfit will not shy away from taking an extreme step in the interest of 'the freedom struggle'. The warning issued against Hurriyat leaders is unacceptable, Hashmi said, adding that Musa's statement was his personal opinion. Just hours after the Hizb statement, Musa disassociated himself from the terror group. In a fresh audio message on Youtube, Musa said, 'I stand by my speech and by my message. It doesn't bother me what others say.' He underlined that his threat was not against Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani but against other separatist leaders who demand 'freedom for a secular state.' Musa said, 'If they (militants) were fighting for freedom for secular state, then militants were not martyrs. Our intention should be that we have to achieve Azadi for Islam, not for a secular state. If we are fighting for freedom for a secular state then my blood won't be spilled for that purpose...' Reacting sharply against Hizbul Mujhadeen for linking his thought process with that of IS and al-Qaida, Musa said, 'If they are accusing me of (being ) IS, al-Qaida or Indian agent, then I am an agent.' 'I want to make it clear that I am fighting only for Islam, and I have nothing to do with IS and al-Qaida. In fact, I have not made any research about them so far. So cannot even reject them categorically,' he said. Two militant groups 'Harkatul-Mujhadeen' and another lesser known outfit 'Kashmiri Taliban' came out in support of Musa, local agencies reported. This is the second time when cracks have appeared in the Hizbul Mujahideen with Valley-based commanders and its chief Syed Salahuddin based in PoK not being on the same page. Earlier in 2002, its Valley-based commander Abdul Majeed Dar had refused to take orders from Salahuddin. He was later killed by Hizbul Mujahideen.