Zakir Musa was unlike any other militant to have emerged from the bloodied battlefield of Kashmir. Musa, 25—who left his engineering studies halfway to pick up the gun—was a radical Islamist who wanted to establish the “rule of Allah” and had once threatened to publicly hang separatist leaders for refusing to acknowledge Kashmir’s battle as a “religious war”. And Zakir Musa’s killing by security forces last week could potentially mark the end of a phase in Kashmir’s militancy that is seen by police and security experts as an aberration. Jammu and Kashmir police chief Dilbagh Singh said as much, “Zakir’s killing” has ended the “cult and concept of radical jihad as he was the last militant of ISIS-influenced ideology”.
The police and other security agencies are playing down the killing of Musa, who led the Ansar-ul-Ghazwat-ul-Hind, an outfit announced by the al Qaeda-affiliated Global Islamic Media Front. The police issued a brief statement about the encounter in which Musa was killed and referred him with his real name, Zakir Rashid Bhat. “Zakir was important only because of his vintage. He was one of the oldest-surviving militants and could make a lot of impact on social media. His elimination is a dent to his kind of brand,” says inspector general of police, Swayam Prakash Pani.