Hizbul distances itself from Zakir Moosa's statement, signals rift

In the 5.40-minute audio, Moosa had warned the separatist leaders not to meddle in their aim to establish a caliphate in Jammu and Kashmir along the lines of the rule established by ISIS.

Published: 13th May 2017 05:14 PM  |   Last Updated: 13th May 2017 07:02 PM   |  A+A-

File Image for Representational Purposes.

Express News Service

SRINAGAR: The differences have surfaced in Hizbul Mujahideen with the militant group today disassociating from its commander Zakir Rashid alias Zakir Moosa’s statement warning to hang Hurriyat leaders in city centre Lal Chowk while the commander quit the outfit saying he can’t “sacrifice his life for establishment of a secular state”.

“Hizb does not subscribe to Zakir’s statement,”  Hizb spokesman Saleem Hashmi said in an emailed statement.

In a five and a half minute audio message released yesterday, which has gone viral, Zakir had warned Hurriyat leaders of hanging them in Srinagar's Lal Chowk for calling the Kashmir struggle as "political in nature" and not an "Islamic struggle". 

He had described Hurriyat leaders as hypocrites and warned to chop off their heads and hang them in Lal Chowk if they come in their way of establishing of Shariah in the State.  

Hashmi said Zakir’s statement against Hurriyat leaders is totally unacceptable.

“The statement reflects his personal opinion. After Burhan’s killing last year, the people and the leadership are united at every front and taking ahead the struggle for freedom and Islam to its end,” he said.

The Hizb spokesman said any provocative statement or step could prove deadly for the movement.

“Hizb is examining Zakir’s statement and won’t hesitate to take any step for betterment of the struggle.

We appeal youth not to give much attention to such statements,” Hashmi said.

Zakir’s statement warning to kill Hurriyat leaders was the first such statement in over two decades of turmoil in Valley when a militant commander had directly threatened to kill the separatist leaders.

Zakir had taken over as Kashmir chief of Hizb after killing of his predecessor Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces on July 8 last year.

Zakir released a fresh audio message today in which he stood by his statement and announced quitting Hizbul Mujahideen.

“I stand by my earlier message. Hizb has disassociated itself from my statement so I am quitting from the group. From now onwards I am no more associated with Hizb,” he announced in the audio clip, which has gone viral on social media”.

He claimed that had not said anything against a particular person or Syed Ali Geelani. “I have said only against an individual, who is against Islam and talks about freedom for secular state”.

Zakir said if militants were fighting for “freedom” for a “secular state”, then he thinks they militants were not martyrs.

"I know we have to first fight for freedom and expel Indian army from Kashmir. But our intention should be that we have to achieve ‘Azadi’ for Islam and not for secular state. If we are fighting for freedom for secular state then my blood won’t be spilled for that purpose,” he said adding, “I can’t “sacrifice my life for establishment of a secular state”.

“I also want to make it clear that I am fighting for Islam only and have nothing to do with IS or Al-Qaeda,” added Zakir, who is in mid-20s and was an engineering student before joining militancy.

Reacting to Zakir’s threat statement to Hurriyat leaders, Hizbul chief Syed Salah-ud-Din had yesterday directed the militants operating in the State to desist from issuing statements and consult the top commanders on policy and other important matters.

Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today said her government will consider any request for security from separatist leaders following a threat to them by Hizbul commander Zakir.

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