The statement made by Hizbul Mujahideen commander Zakir Rashid Bhat, alias Zakir Musa, has raised a storm in Kashmir Valley. Musa, who was part of Burhan Wani's group, has been active for four years.
The Hizbul commander, in an audio clip released on Friday, warned the Hurriyat leadership not to term Kashmir's freedom struggle as a political movement and threatened that he will “chop off their heads and display them at Lal Chowk” in Srinagar. People in the Kashmir Valley not only expressed their opposition to this view but many have reiterated that the ongoing movement in Kashmir is “political” rather than an Islamic struggle.
Though the anger against the Hurriyat leadership has been brewing for a long time for their failure to explore innovative ideas to take the political struggle forward, Musa's statement has come under sharp criticism from all quarters.
Junaid Qureshi, director of European Foundation for South Asian Studies, wrote on his Facebook page: “Zakir Musa actually told the world that we Kashmiris are terrorists and that he and his organisation would like to emulate ISIS (Daesh). When you have Kashmiris like him, why would you need enemies?”
For the first time since the new-age militancy started taking roots in Kashmir that people from all ideological quarters have come down heavily on the militant commander and despite the internet ban, people are using social media networks through VPNs to voice their opinions.
Junaid Azim Mattu, spokesperson of National Conference, tweeted: “Millions bleed scream it’s a political problem-you pretend to be deaf. One man in the hills says its “religious” and everyone convinced!”
Millions bleed; scream it's a political problem - you pretend to be deaf. One man in the hills says it's "religious" and everyone convinced!
— Junaid Azim Mattu (@Junaid_Mattu) May 13, 2017
In another tweet, he said, “Kashmir was and is a political problem that requires a political solution. The sentiment is ethnic, not religious. No statement changes that.”
Kashmir was and is a political problem that requires a political solution. The sentiment is ethnic, not religious. No statement changes that
— Junaid Azim Mattu (@Junaid_Mattu) May 12, 2017
Though the support for the new-age militants has grown over the years, many feel that it should not divert from its political goals. As a result, majority of the Kashmiris are condemning Musa’s pan-Islamic ideological views.
Mehraj Din, an Islamic studies scholar at the Kashmir University, wrote on Facebook: “The statement of Zakir Musa is indubitably the most unfortunate episodes of our freedom struggle and it is equally irresponsible on his part to issue such a statement without taking the religio-political context into consideration. This statement is not even debatable — it should be condemned by all quarters of our society and it must be clearly understood that the cause is not subject to somebody’s interpretation rather the individual/movement/group is subject to the cause. Whether it is Zakir Musa, Hurriyat, some liberal sitting in a coffee shop or an academician sitting in the any part of the world.”
Writer and journalist, Jehangir Ali was more pointed and called Musa "a juvenile with a gun" on his Facebook page. “A juvenile with a gun in his hand who thinks it's 'my way or highway' can't be a representative of my political aspirations! Send him to Syria. Send all those who want to 'establish Sharia' in Kashmir to Middle East where their brothers and sisters need them more than before. I want a Kashmir where people from all faiths live in harmony without the fear of getting persecuted for their religious beliefs. If that invites threats of beheading, so be it,” he wrote.
Rais Paray, a college student, wrote Musa’s words have damaged and distorted the struggle beyond repair. “Their media, which is every now and then trying to defame our struggle, now will use your words to counter our truth. It was/is a political struggle rather than what you claim it to be. If it’s not a political struggle according to you then you are heading towards another exodus which all of us will be held responsible. Also, your words were pathetic and at the times disrespectful. Your words have hung my head in shame,” he wrote.
Kaiser Majeed, a resident of Srinagar, called Musa politically immature and unaware of the geopolitical situation around. “By threatening leaders to stop calling Kashmir struggle a political problem, he has dented people's struggle for right to self-determination. And Caliphate is not established by hanging people who disagree with you, most importantly, tens of thousands of people have sacrificed their lives for the Kashmir cause, which is political in nature. If you fighting against Indian occupation, go ahead. If not, then don’t harm our struggle. Our fight is against Indian occupation not against any religion, or to establish Caliphate. Period,” he wrote on Facebook.
Updated Date: May 13, 2017 20:11 PM