Zakir Musa is becoming the Moses brought up in the courtyard of Pharaoh

July 02/ 2017

On 12 May, a video released by the Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Zakir Rashid Bhat Alias Musa took the Kashmir valley by a storm. The video message was a major development in the history of militancy in Jammu Kashmir Zakir. In the video, Musa warned the Hurriyat leaders and threatened that he will chop off their heads and display them at Lal Chowk in Srinagar if they prove to be the “thorns” in the way of the militants.

The younger generation in Kashmir came out in support of Musa on social networking, on streets displaying his photos, shouting Pro Zakir Slogans. The less known fact nevertheless is, immediately after the statement, a Kashmiri political activist, ‘the heart rob leader’ of the early 90s famous for his slogan “Anaj Ugaw, Azadi Paw”, Shakeel Ahmed Bakshi was taken into custody. Bakshi was also arrested post the ‘Salahudin –Quyoom’ Rift in 2015. The rift was rooted over the rejection of a ‘Hit-List’ prepared by the former Hizb member, Abdul Quyoom Najar, which also contained the names of at least two middle-rung separatist leaders, was rejected by Hizbul Mujahideen’s Pakistan-based leadership post which Six people mostly Hurriyat cadre, were shot in Sopore town and its peripheral villages suspected to have been planned by Najar.

On June 2, 2015, a major separatist organisation led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani made a scathing attack on Lashkar-e-Islam headed by Quyoom Najar, claiming that, it had evidence to prove that the new outfit was a creation of Indian intelligence agencies.

However, the amalgam reacted sharply to the separatist group in a detailed statement published in Urdu newspapers on June 6, 2015 by asking the separatist leader to rather probe the role of his associates in the killing of four militants, including Javaid Salfi (Anantnag), Mufti Hilal (Palhalan) and Adil Mir (Tral).

Tech savvy, Shakeel Bakshi, pioneer of Islamic Students League who habitually remains distant from the public gaze is often seen under a single Chinar in Srinagar’s Christian cemetery, wiping off the dust over the grave of Robert Thorpe, a Briton who died in Kashmir in 1868. Bakshi who was released after questioning in the jail has already spent at least 11 years in the Jail.

 

To understand the reason behind the constant arrests, whenever any statements were made against Kashmiri separatists, Qazi Shibli on behalf of ‘The Kashmiriyat’ spoke to Shakeel Bakshi.

Q: Why were you arrested, Do you see any link between the arrest post the Quyoom Najar episode and this one?

There of course is a connection. Whenever there is a shift of narrative in Kashmir or an alternate view point starts finding space in the public, I am detained. I was told that I had supported Quyoom Najar the last time and this time, they had apprehensions that I will support Zakir Musa “Bhai.” But the winds of Change have started blowing; no wall, no fences and no barriers can block them. The resilient younger generation has shown full support to Zakir Musa. The state fears the rise of an alternative voice, so it will choke the space of everyone who supports that alternative viewpoint. People feel dejected with the conventional politics, a new voice has to emerge and it cannot be contained, as I said.

Q: Do you feel the state is helping the leadership stay by not allowing emergence of new leadership?

Ye Naghma Fasl-e-Gul-o-Lala Ka Nahin Paband, Translation: These melodious songs are not confined to time when rose and tulip bloom. It really does not matter whether anyone allows alternate leadership to rise or not, some crops are not conditional to a particular weather, they grow despite rains or thunders. I remember in 1988, when a new slogan surfaced in Kashmir, the famous leaders of today who have become the symbols of resistance called the new wave as a handiwork of agencies, called it a ‘Sikh Conspiracy.’ History bears a witness that the people who condemned it as violence are living beneath the shade of the same tree they once condemned.

Q: What do you feel about NIA Raids?

Everyone here is traumatized in some way. It’s a sacrifice living as occupied. It’s suffering. We’ve grown up in war; we don’t have a taste for love and if the movement is alive today, it is because of the tears of those traumatized. The pellet victims seeking help were wooed away from the gates of the leaders. The money that was meant for the families of the victims must not have been used as a personal property, but unfortunately it was. Kashmir history is a witness whenever uprisings and movements have been on their peak, the Income Tax raided the houses of the a few people, their relatives and they have called of their protest calendars. The same is being repeated today after NIA Raids, the people with their long agendas, speaking about tripartite talks have succumbed to ‘negotiable settlement.’

The movement started not to take, but to give something to the nation. This is not about gold, money laundering or other resources. The civilians have invested their blood in our pious movement. But nothing has reached the people here. The ones who profited from the money, they didn’t lift a finger during the recent uprising.

Q: Do you see lack of space for Political dissent the reason for a rise in Militancy?

Yes, but it is not radicalization on our side, it is radicalization on the side of India, when India imposes beef ban, lynches Muslims, wants to have a say on what we eat and what we do not, there will be a reaction. We are having such tragic times, when Indian state is coming with an agenda of mass conversions, Ghar Wapsi, nationalism is promoted, and we are busy in justifying or denouncing a particular mode of resistance. What you see in Kashmir is a small reaction to the ultra nationalism. When 80 percent of the people out on the streets are called ‘Islamic Terrorists’ what does one expect the reaction to be. But I see it more as the rise of an alternative voice and the state will try its best to suppress that voice. The battle has been ferocious and difficult by all standards, for our brothers are facing states and professional soldiers. The ultranationalists are not against anyone, but against what one represents.

Q: Do you see the changed stance of Hurriyat from ‘Azadi Barayi Islam’ to Political struggle the reason for Zakir Musa revolting against Hurriyat?

The situation is quite simple. Zakir Musa is a part of Hizb led by Salahuddin, whose political mentor is Geelani. Zakir feels betrayed with the shift in the policy of his mentors to satisfy some global agenda. From the thought and speeches he has been brought up with and reared as a militant to what he is being told right now is completely distinct. He (Zakir) is a good student and is following what he has been taught as a student. Zakir is a hero and a victim.

Q: Do you feel Zakir Musa is becoming a victim of a larger conspiracy?

No, I feel Zakir Musa “Bhai” is becoming the Moses brought up in the palace of Pharaoh.