The fall of the first extremist militant group in Kashmir
Police claims it has wiped out Ansar Gazwat-ul-Hind, the first radical Islamist outfit affiliated with the global terror organisation, Al- Qaeda, from Kashmir valley.
On Tuesday, three Ansar Gazwat-ul-Hind militants were killed during a fire-fight with security forces in Awantipora area, some 27 kms south of Srinagar.
With this encounter, the police claimed to have wiped out the group from the Valley. Naveed Tak, Hamid Lone alias Lalhari and Junaid Bhat, according to the police, were the last three surviving militants of the group. However, sources told Asiaville that the outfit is still left with one more active member.
Ansar Gazwat-ul-Hind is the first radical Islamist outfit affiliated with the global terror organisation, Al- Qaeda.
How the Ansar Gazwat-ul- Hind came into being
The group was founded by Zakir Rashid Bhat who uses the nom-de-guerre Musa. He was a resident of Noorpora, Tral in Pulwama district.
Musa, an engineering drop out from Chandigarh was aclose associate of the slain Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Burhan Wani, who re-animated militancy in Kashmir. After Wani's death, it was Musa who steered the outfit.
Belonging to a well-heeled family, Musa signed up for the Hizbul Mujahidin in 2013.
In 2017, Musa's audio message that went viarl on different social media platforms caused a stir in the Valley. He overtly threatened to kill Hurriyat leaders if they billed the Kashmir dispute as a political one.
Musa, in his message, made it clear that they (the militants) were spilling blood not for creating a separate secular state but "for the establishment of the caliphate". This was the first time more or less over the past three decades of militancy in Kashmir that a militant had the temerity to speak like this.
Musa soon parted ways with Hizbul Mujahidn and vanished briefly.
In July 2017, Global Islamic Media, an Al-Qaeda affiliate propaganda channel, announced the creation of Ansar Gazwat-ul-Hind as its cell in Kashmir, and named Musa as its head.
Both speratist leaders as well as militant outfits rebuffed the announcement.
Syed Salahudin, the chief of United Jihad Council based in PoK said that there was no scope for any international organisation like Islamic State or Al-Qaeda in Kashmir.
Only a few joined Ansar
Although Musa soon catapulted to popularity among young men in the Valley, he failed to attract more youth into his ranks.
According to a police official, only two odd dozen men espoused Musa's pan-Islamist views and joined him. He said that it was a loosely knit group with no external support.
Ansar Gazwat-ul-Hind had not only come on the rader of security agencies but was under the consistent threat of local militant organisations. They repeatedly labelled the group as a creation of Indian intelligence agencies.
Zahid Bhat, a valley based scholar and researcher, said that the group was bound to collapse as it hardly received any logistic support from its parent organisation based in Afghanistan.
"And ideologically Ansar Gazwat-ul-Hind's influence was restricted to only a small, particular area. Other militant organisations backed by Pakistan left very little space for it," Bhat pointed out.
End of Ansar
Most of the militants associated with Ansar Gazwat-ul-Hind were killed by security forces during various gunfights largly taking place in south Kashmir's Pulwama and Shopian districts. The outfit, however, suffered a huge setback when security forces killed Musa in Dadsar village of Tral town on May 24 this year. Thousands of people from across the valley thronged Musa's native village Noorpora and participated in his last rites.
Musa was considered the second most popular militant, after Wani, in Kashmir. Graffiti withhis name is still being painted on the walls in Kashmir.
After the death of Musa, Lalhari led the remnants of the group of Ansar Gazwat-ul-Hind. The group beavered away to survive and consolidate its position, but its luck ran out on Thursday when security forces finished Lalhari off along with his two comrades.