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Will behead Hurriyat chiefs if they call Kashmir a political struggle: Hizbul's Zakir

Catch Team | Updated on: 13 May 2017, 15:53 IST
Hizbul Mujahideen commander Zakir Musa threatens Hurriyat leaders with beheading (Arya Sharma/Catch Team)

In a development of profound import for the ongoing turmoil in Kashmir, the commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen, Zakir Musa, has threatened Hurriyat leaders with beheading, should they continue to insist on calling Kashmir's Azadi movement a political rather than an Islamic struggle.

In a five-minute video released on Friday afternoon, which has since gone viral, Musa said the objective of their struggle was “only and only the glory of Islam and the implementation of Shariah”. He warned that the militants would brook no deviation from this goal.

“I am warning these people (Hurriyat leaders). If they again try to become thorns in our path, then first thing we will do is to hang them. We will stop fighting non-believers and first hang them. We warn them don’t try to play their politics,” Musa says.

“They (Hurriyat) can't be our leaders. If they have to do their politics, then don't become thorns in our path and in the path of the enforcement of shariah. Otherwise, we will first behead you and hang you in Lal Chowk.”

Significance of the threat

This is the first time in the 30 years of the secessionist struggle in Kashmir that a top commander of the largest indigenous militant outfit has rebelled against the Hurriyat, and threatened to kill its leaders over what is apparently an ideological tussle.

A battle royale is shaping up for the soul of the Kashmir struggle: whether it should remain a movement devoted to achieving the political rights of Kashmiris, as Hurriyat wants it, or become a part of the larger pan-Islamist movement for the realisation of a Caliphate. Or so it seems. 

Hurriyat statement

The video has been issued in response to a recent joint statement by the Hurriyat trio – Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik – in which they rejected the Islamist noises made by a group of militants and re-affirmed that Kashmir was fundamentally a political movement.

The statement blamed 'Indian agencies' for what they called was 'propaganda against Kashmir'.

“Our movement has nothing to do with ISIS or Al Qaeda, and practically, these groups are non-existent in the state,” the statement said. “There is no role for these groups in our movement.”

The leaders blamed the government for once again promoting renegades in the state to create confusion in the world against the struggle in Kashmir.

“The government has decided to go for mysterious killings, burglary, loot, plunder and vandalism under the garb of some shadowy militant groups to defame the ongoing freedom movement and to influence international opinion on Kashmir,” the statement read.

“The authorities in Delhi have now started to play a vicious game under the label of holy war. It is a ploy to create a wedge between people and bravehearts (militants). Agencies are hiring some sick-minded goons and they have been assigned the task to create chaos in the state.”

The Kareemabad address

The Hurriyat statement itself was in response to an address by a commander of a group of masked militants to a gathering of people at Kareemabad in April, in which he made no bones about a drastic turn towards Islamism for Kashmir militancy.

“Our fight is not for any organisation or nation but for Islam. Tomorrow, we have to go to India also and we will have to implement system of Islam there. There is no Islamic system in Pakistan and we have to implement Islamic system there also,” the masked commander of the group told the gathering.

He also urged the people not to wave Pakistani flags during militant funerals, and exhorted people to raise slogans in favour of the Taliban.

The call was swiftly rebuffed by the PoK-based United Jihad Council, of which Hizbul Mujahideen, led by Syed Salahuddin, is the dominant constituent.

“Opposing the Pakistani nation and flag and supporting Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan reflects the intentions of the group of gunmen masquerading as Mujahideen at Naseer's grave,” UJC spokesman Syed Sadaqat Hussain said in a statement. “These gunmen are creating confusion between militants and people.”

Though Musa, in a subsequent viral video, had called for the imposition of Shariah, the people discounted any connection between the masked Kareemabad commander and him. Encouraged by the UJC's statement denouncing anti-Pakistan and pro-Taliban observations by a section of militants, Hurriyat issued its hard-hitting statement lambasting the alleged 'renegade' militants. But little could they have imagined that they would be snubbed and threatened by no less than the Valley's all-powerful Hizbul commander, from the recent exploits of whose cadres they themselves drew their new-found political relevance.

Is this a rebellion?

This has created a deep confusion in the Valley about the state of affairs. There is suspense about what Musa is up to, and why is he rebelling against the Hurriyat, and apparently also against the UJC. It will be interesting to see how Hizbul supremo Salahuddin responds to the development.

“If Kashmir is a political struggle, then why have you been using mosques for it? You stand on pulpit in mosques and do your politics. Why don't you sit on a dharna on the road?” Musa says in the video.

“If this is not an Islamic struggle, then why do you call mujahideen of Islam your own people? Why do you come to their funerals? Stop this politics of yours.”

Note: Although Catch News has a copy of the video/audio clips threatening the Hurriyat leaders, we are not publishing it. We do not want to be purveyors of an unmediated terrorist threat. - Editor

First published: 12 May 2017, 21:49 IST