Former Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander Zakir Musa has been named as the head of a newly created al-Qaida cell, Ansar Ghazwat-Ul-Hind, a media report said today.
The appointment of Zakir Musa as head of the new group represents the first time militants linked to al-Qaida have operated openly in Kashmir where an anti-India insurgency is going on since past 28 years, reported The Guardian.
The new cell, named Ansar Ghazwat-Ul-Hind, is the deepest inroad al-Qaida has yet made in Kashmir, said the report.
The creation of the group was announced by Global Islamic Media Front, an al-Qaida-affiliated information network.
Al-Qaida announced the establishment of an Indian wing in 2014 but, like Isis, has garnered little support among India’s Muslim population, the third largest of any country in the world.
Musa had earlier released a video message, asking people not to “fall for nationalism”.
“I see that many people in Kashmir are engaged in a war of nationalism, which is forbidden in Islam,” Musa had said. The fight in the region should “not be for the sake of Kashmir”, he added. “It should be exclusively for Islam so that Sharia is established here.”
Another video released by Musa’s group in April attacked Pakistan for the first time, declaring: “There is no Islam [there] at present, so we are unhappy with it. We have to do jihad with Pakistan as well.”
Resistance and militant groups in Kashmir have distanced themselves from the statements of Musa.