Zakir Musa killed in Tral encounter

In a major blow to militancy in Kashmir, Ansar Ghazwat Ul Hind founder and chief Zakir Rashid Bhat alias Musa was killed in a gunfight with security forces in Tral area of south Kashmir Thursday evening.

Zakir hailed from Noorpora area of Tral, he first joined the Hizbul Mujahideen militant outfit in 2013 and went on to become close aide of Hizb commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani. Both worked together to strengthen the outfit and within years the outfit rose to prominence, recruiting plenty of young and educated youth in their ranks.

After Wani’s killing in July 2016 Musa took over the command. However, he hit the headlines in the summer of 2017 when in a video message he declared fighting for caliphate and not for joining Pakistan or creating an independent state. He also threatened Hurriyat leadership of dire consequences who he thought were a hurdle in the establishment of caliphate.

However, his views were not endorsed by Hizb leadership following which he parted ways and formed his own outfit Ansar Ghazwat Ul Hind.

Zakir came from a well off family. His father Abdul Rashid Bhat is a retired assistant executive engineer. His elder brother Shakir Rashid Bhat is an orthopedic surgeon and his sister Shaheena Rashid Bhat is a banker.

In 2012 he left for Chandigarh to pursue engineering at Ram Dev Jindal college but left it midway and instead joined militancy.

Hundreds of his friends and his family and relatives were waiting for his body till late night outside police station Awantipora. The body was not handed over to them when this report was being filed.