An audio slideshow has surfaced in Kashmir’s social media that has voice of Hizbul Mujahideen militant commander Zakir Moosa talking about establishing an Islamic caliphate besides threatening separatist leaders in the Valley. The voice is that of Zakir Moosa, Director General of Police S P Vaid told PTI in Srinagar.
He said police carried out voice analysis and compared it with Moosa’s earlier videos and audios. “It’s Moosa only,” Vaid said.
The 5.40-minute audio warns 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 in parts of Syria and Iraq.
The clip was seen as worrying twist in Kashmir’s militancy which has largely been about independence and annexation with Pakistan without ever emphasizing Islam or connecting it to jihad.
Hizbul Mujahideen is almost as old as the Kashmiri militancy which started in 1989. The group is made up almost entirely of local youths, and had always campaigned for joining Pakistan.
In the audio clip, the speaker also asks other non-violent separatists to either fight along with militants in the battle field or refrain from making statements about the present armed struggle.
The clip surfaced after Hurriyat leaders recently sought to downplay the growing influence of ISIS ideology in the 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 ISIS, Al-Qaida and other such organisation.
The slideshow’s Urdu-language audio overlays pictures and quotes of jailed Indonesian national Abu Bakar Bashir and Yemni resident Anwar al-Awlaki. Both are considered as brain behind ISIS and Al-Qaeda activities.
While confirming that the voice in the slideshow was that of Moosa, senior police officials did not rule out the possibility that the banned ISIS terror group was trying to create a base in the Valley.
The security agencies had warned that internet chats and establishing of contacts with possible handlers in Syria and Iraq by some youths have grown in the last six months.
Last month, two masked gunmen appeared at the funeral of a Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist in Pulwama during which they asked the gathering to follow the rules laid down by the Taliban and the ISIS, and not support or raise slogans in favour of Pakistan.
They gave fiery speeches for over three minutes in which they spoke about pan-Islamisation and the importance of having Shariat as a law and fled after firing guns in the air.
Militant outfits including United Jehad Council, a conglomerate of terror outfits based out of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, as well as separatists were quick to downplay the incident but security officials viewed it with more seriousness.
The agencies felt that if the growing influence of ISIS was not checked, it could be detrimental to the situation in the Valley.
There was no pinpointed information about the users other than the general areas of some villages in South Kashmir, Sopore in North Kashmir, Prang and Lar in Central Kashmir as well as Reasi, Kishtawar and Doda areas of Jammu region, they said.
During the recent protests across the Valley, ISIS flags were waved in certain areas. Also, walls in some were splattered with slogans supporting the banned terror outfit.
The Indian Army has also been worried about the growing influence of the ISIS ideology on the youth of the Valley and a study done last year showed that six out of 10 youths were watching videos of controversial Islamic preacher Zaki Naik or other jihadi videos.
However, In a statement today, Hizbul Mujahideen supreme commander Syed Sallahuddin also said there was no place for groups such as ISIS, Al-Qaeda or the Taliban in Jammu and Kashmir.
“This movement is purely local and indigenous. It has no international agenda. Al Qaeda, Daesh (ISIS) or Taliban have no involvement or role in Kashmir,” he said.