Hizbul Heads For Split After Top Commander Snubbed. I Quit, He Says

Hizbul Mujahideen leadership in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir had distanced the outfit from Zakir Musa's statement against Hurriyat Conference separatists.

Hizbul Heads For Split After Top Commander Snubbed. I Quit, He Says

Hizbul Mujahideen commander Zakir Musa put out an audio message disassociating himself from the group.

NEW DELHI:  Hizbul Mujahideen, the terrorist group that wants Jammu and Kashmir to join Pakistan, could be headed for split after its commander in Kashmir valley, Zakir Musa, reportedly put out an audio message announcing his decision to quit the group. The move followed a snub from the Hizbul leadership in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir distancing the outfit from Musa's attacks on the Hurriyat leadership.

Musa had earlier, also in an audio message, circulated on social media warned separatist leaders in the Hurriyat Conference not to meddle in their objective to establish a caliphate in Jammu and Kashmir along the lines of the rule established by the ISIS in parts of Syria and Iraq. He had also threatened to behead Hurriyat leaders and hang their heads in Srinagar city for using the Kashmir issue for political gains.

Musa said he would "chop off and hang...heads" of Hurriyat leaders in Srinagar's commercial hub, Lal Chowk, "for interfering in their struggle for Islam". Jammu and Kashmir's police chief SP Vaid told PTI that the police had carried out a voice analysis and found that it was Zakir Musa's voice in the audio clip.

The Hizbul Mujahideen, that has its headquarters across the border in PoK's Muzaffarabad, had distanced itself from the statement, calling them his "personal opinion".

Differences had cropped up between the Hizbul leaders in the valley and PoK after the local commander Abdul Majeed Dar refused to take orders from the outfit's chief across the Line of Control, Syed Salahuddin. Dar, along with four other commanders, had declared a ceasefire and began talks with the Vajpayee government in 2000, angering the leadership. Dar was later gunned down.

Musa, who had enrolled for an engineering degree but dropped out midway to join the outfit, didn't waste much time. As soon as the Hizbul bosses in PoK declared that his statement was "unacceptable" to them, Musa retorted: "If Hizbul Mujahideen doesn't represent me, then I also don't represent them. From today onwards, I have no association with Hizbul Mujahideen".

"It doesn't bother me what others say but I stand by my speech. I have not said anything against Syed Ali Shah Geelani but my statement was only against those individuals who talk about freedom (of Kashmir) for a secular state," he said.

The clip surfaced after Hurriyat leaders recently sought to downplay the growing influence of ISIS ideology in the Kashmir Valley.

Earlier this week, Hurriyat leaders like Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Yaseen Malik issued a joint statement in which they claimed that the Kashmir struggle has nothing to do with the ISIS, the al-Qaeda and other such organisations.

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