22 March 2018

Al-Qaeda hires Kashmiri militant as its India unit chief

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To step up its presence in India, terror group Al-Qaeda has chosen 23-year-old Kashmiri militant Zakir Musa as the head of its new wing - Ansar Ghawzat-Ul-Hind. Musa, an engineering graduate, is a close aide of the deceased Burhan Wani, who was killed by security personnel last year. reports citing Sputnik news.

Zakir Musa is among the many militants who have exploited social media for generating resentment among Kashmiri youth against the Indian establishment. The announcement on Musa was made by an Al-Qaeda propaganda channel Global Islamic Media Front.

"After the martyrdom of heroic Mujahid Burhan Wani, the jihad in Kashmir has entered a stage of awakening, as the Muslim nation of Kashmir has committed to carry the flag of jihad to repel the aggression of Indian invaders, and through jihad, and with the aid of Allah only, we will liberate our homeland Kashmir," the statement said.

"For this goal, a new movement of jihad has been founded by the companions of martyr Burhan Wani under the leadership of mujahid Zakir Musa," the statement reads.

Al-Qaeda's efforts to make inroads into Kashmiri youth may boomerang as the local people term their fight for nationalism rather than a religious movement. In May this year, major differences erupted over Zakir Musa's statement when he declared that Kashmiris should not fall for nationalism. "I see that many people in Kashmir are engaged in a war of nationalism, which is forbidden in Islam. The fight in the region should not be for the sake of Kashmir. It should be exclusively for Islam so that sharia is established here," Musa had said.

Following Musa's Islamist statement, the Hizbul Mujahideen had expelled him in May this year. The local militant group feared that any connection with the terrorist groupslike Daesh and Al-Qaeda will weaken its support among Kashmiri youth. This was evident from the fact that despite announcing an Indian wing in 2014, Al-Qaeda failed to garner any support among Indians.

The Indian establishment is facing violence since last year's Burhan Wani encounter. According to official figures, more than 180 terror-related incidents have been recorded this year and more than 100 terrorists have been killed.

2017.07.28 / 11:59
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