Shutdown in Banihal against killing of militant commander Zakir Musa

A complete shutdown is being observed in highway town of Banihal in Ramban district of Jammu and Kashmir against the killing of militant commander Zakir Musa.

All shops, business establishments and schools are closed while local traffic is off the roads in Banihal.

Witnesses said that extra forces have been deployed in Banihal and other adjacent areas affected by shutdown.

Curfew-like restrictions were imposed in parts of Srinagar, summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, on Friday to prevent protests against the killing of militant commander Zakir Musa late last night.

All schools, colleges and universities have been closed across Kashmir today as a “precautionary measure”, divisional commissioner Kashmir announced yesterday. Kashmir University and IUST Awantipora have postponed all the exams scheduled today.

The body of Ansar Gazwatul Hind (AGH) chief Zakir Musa who was killed in a gunfight last night in Tral area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district was handed over to his family for last rites today morning.

An official said that the gunfight broke out after a joint team of the army and the SOG launched a cordon-and-search operation in Dadsara village last evening amid intelligence reports about the presence of one of the Kashmir’s most wanted militant commander Zakir Musa.

A police officer said that Musa turned down offer to surrender and fired UBGL grenades and opened fire which was retaliated leading to a gunfight.

The gunfight raged for several hours and ended early Friday, resulting into death of Musa.

Musa, who hailed from Noorpora area of Tral, 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.

Musa 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.