New video footage has emerged of the last message of Anwar Husain ‘Bhatkal’, an Indian jihadist killed in combat while attacking an Afghan military outpost earlier this year. The video was released online on Saturday by the Tauheed-ul-Ansar, a group of Indian jihadists operating from the Afghan-Pakistan border in alliance with the Taliban.
Flanked by two unidentified men, one with his face digitally-masked, Husain cradles a Kalashnikov assault rifle as he tells his parents: “I am here because jihad is an obligation on all of us, (but) I must seek permission for it from my parents, not my wife or children.”
“I want you to know,” he continues, “that I have come here of my own free will, not because anyone either incited me to do so or forced me. I am here because I want God to accept me, not because I seek money or fame or power.”
The narrator in the videotape briefly describes Husain’s journey from the coastal Karnataka town of Bhatkal to Dubai and on to the jihad in Afghanistan. The video quotes a masked commander he served with as saying: “The mujahideen are almost all very pious people but brother Husain was ahead of all in piety, character and courage. He was on very good terms with all the brothers. He would fight even when he was fasting… he was fasting the day he was killed.”
The narrator claims Husain told his group, “I will break my fast this evening, God willing, in the house of Allah with the houris (virgins of Paradise, said to be awaiting jihadists killed in combat).”
In the video, Husain urges Indian Muslims that “the time has come for you to join those battling to restore the Caliphate across the world”. “So many of our sisters are trapped in the hands of the unbelievers,” says Husain, “yet we Muslim brothers have been able to do nothing for them. We must reflect on the fact that sorrow and happiness are both gifts of Allah. We take all from Allah, but we do nothing for him, and must ask how we will prepare to face him”.
Few details are, however, made available on the precise circumstances of Husain’s death — thought to have taken place during an attack on the Chowlai border outpost, in Afghanistan’s Kandahar region. The Tauhid ul-Ansar’s cadre see this battle experience as a stepping stone for an eventual Islamist insurgency against the Indian state. The videotape begins with an unidentified Tauhid-ul-Ansar operative firing a machine gun, shouting: “oh you Hindus, see what lies ahead”.
Long sought by the NIA, Husain worked as an auto-rickshaw and van driver in Bhatkal before securing a job as a car driver in Dubai. Related to the Indian Mujahideen’s Karachi-based military chief, he served as an overseas financier and recruiter for the organisation, before joining a hardline splinter group that broke with its leadership to join jihadists in Afghanistan.
The new group, Tauhid ul-Ansar, is believed to include several men from Azamgarh and Bhatkal. Husain is survived by an estranged wife, whose identity The Indian Express is withholding.