Ideological split in Militants 

Ideological split in Militants 

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For the first time in the 28-year history of militancy in the Valley a top militant commander threatened Hurriyat leaders, talks about Aazadi for Islam and opposes Pakistani flag.

Zakir Musa, who rose to become the Hizbul Mujahideen’s top commander in the Valley, has threatened Hurriyat leaders if they continue terming the Kashmir freedom struggle as a political one instead of a religious one to establish Islamic rule.

This indicates an apparent ideological split in Kashmir’s decades old militancy.

This rebellion has created split even among different militant outfits operating in the Valley. One of the militant outfits, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, came out in support of Musa while saying that “Zakir Musa Bhai has spoken truth. We stand by him. Our support is always with him”.

A day after Musa’s threatening message, the Hizbul Mujahideen dissociated itself from it terming the statement as “unacceptable” and “personal opinion”.

After the Hizbul statement, Musa announced he will part ways with the militant outfit. “If we are fighting for aazadi to establish secular state, then we are not martyrs…then my blood will not be spilled for it. If Hizbul Mujahideen does not represent me, I also do not represent Hizbul Mujahideen now onwards,” he states in over the new video, pressing further his position that his fight was not for a secular state but aazidi for Islam. “I stand by what I said and I do not care if anybody is with me or not as long as Allah is with me.”

Breaking their silence over the threat issued by Musa, the separatist leaders cautioned that any disunity in the “freedom camp would give Indian government a chance to sabotage the movement”.

Although the joint statement by Geelani, Mirwaiz and Malik did not name Musa, it asked all political and militant organisations to “fight for freedom with vision and wisdom”.

“The freedom movement is in a crucial stage. We need to be careful because our enemy may gain an advantage from prevailing crises,” the statement said without naming anybody. “All political and militant factions have decided to remain united against them. We won’t allow India to create a rift in the resistance camp”, they added.

The trio said the separatists have succeeded in shrugging off their “hardline and moderate” tags, uniting on a one-point programme of attaining “freedom from forced occupation”. “India stands frustrated by this unity,” the joint statement said.

Recently a masked militant on the grave of a slain colleague in Kareemabad in Pulwama on April 7, where he had said militancy in Kashmir was a fight for the implementation of Islamic rule and not for any group or Pakistan.

“We want Islamic system in Kashmir. We have stood up for not any organisation or Pakistan but Islam,” the militant said while addressing the gathering at the funeral, asking people not to wave “un-Islamic” Pakistani flag

The statement was, however, discarded by United Jihad Council, a conglomerate of several militant organisations, including the Hizbul. “Those opposing the Pakistani nation and flag and supporting Taliban tells about the intentions of the gunmen masquerading as Mujahideen. These people are out to create confusion,” spokesman of the council Syed Sadaqat Hussain said in a statement.

Meanwhile Hizb commander Riyaz Naikoo recently appeared in the funeral of slain militant Shariq Ahmad at Takuna and addressed the gathering of thousands of people.

Asking people not to fall for tricks, he said that efforts are being made to defame the Kashmir freedom struggle. Without naming Zakir Musa who was recently named head of Al-Qaeda wing in Kashmir, Naikoo said that all the people holding the flag of Islam “are not necessarily our own”.

“Pakistan flag is our flag. Linking our struggle with Al Qaeda and ISIS is a ploy to defame it,” he said. Naikoo asked people not to support those “who oppose Pakistani flag and our freedom struggle from India”. Before leaving the venue, Naikoo raised pro-Pakistan slogans.

Many believe that the split in pro freedom camps or militant outfits is unfortunate and dangerous for the freedom struggle of Kashmir. This ideological split now in militant groups, earlier in Hurriyat factions is also having serious consequences on decades old Kashmir issues to influence the international viewpoint.

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Irfan Quraishi is a Srinagar based Broadcast & Multimedia journalist in Indian Kashmir. He has previously worked as senior Correspondent for Day & Night News, Kashmir Times. Quraishi is founding Editor of “KASHMIR PATRIOT” launched in 2016. He has acquired over seven years of journalistic experience in Print, Electronic and Digital media. He had been a fellow of Thomson Reuters Foundation London and RNTC Europe. He has done a great deal of reporting and analysis on diverse issues of public importance including Human Rights, Media, Security, Politics, Health, Tourism, Education and Current Affairs. His contributions have been published in The Hoot, The Quint, The Citizen, and many other national media organizations.