Home Featured ‘Azadi for Islam’: How Zakir Musa became the founder of Kashmir’s first Al Qaeda affiliated terrorist group

‘Azadi for Islam’: How Zakir Musa became the founder of Kashmir’s first Al Qaeda affiliated terrorist group

by Madhvi Bansal
Zakir Musa

On the dawn of the 24th of May, after a firefight that lasted hours, the body of the former commander of Hizbul Majahideen Zakir Musa was found outside his house. The military had been searching for him for months, as he was said to have been associated with several acts of terror ever since 2013. 

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He was called Burhan Wani’s successor

Zakir had often been called the successor and the second in command of Burhan Wani himself, the most popular face of militancy in Kashmir. He popularized raising militants and propagating the message through social media networks. After Wani’s death, Musa came into control of the Mujahideen, and later floated his own terrorist organization affiliated to Al Qaeda named Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind. Musa had since then become quite popular in Kashmiri extremist circles, with several militants and youth chanting “Musa, Musa” in protests and even in India Pakistan matches. His name had been written on several posters demanding Kashmiri independence. His transition from an engineering student to a militant is quite similar to that of Burhan, and both claimed to have chosen the path of militancy to help people escape the “torture by the Indian army”. Musa’s favorite slogan, “Azadi for Islam” grew quite popular in the past few years. 

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Thousands have travelled to Tral on foot to see him one last time

Even as mobile network services were suspended in the region and an area-wide curfew was declared, people have been flocking to his native village of Tral in the thousands on foot I order to see him one last time and pay their “respects”. His father and the rest of his family say that they were proud of the man that he was, as they view him as a freedom fighter fighting to liberate the people of Kashmir from the oppression of the Indian army, and people have been fighting outside his house for the ‘honor’ of getting to see him one last time. Such a celebrity-like reception to the death of a terrorist has not been seen since Wani’s death, and security forces are afraid Musa’s death may lead to retaliations on the public from the terrorists.

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