Srinagar: In a major success, Zakir Musa, the so-called chief of Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, a group affiliated with Al-Qaeda, was killed in an encounter with security forces in a village in South Kashmir’s Tral, officials confirmed Friday.
A defence spokesman said one militant was killed in the operation at Dadsara in Tral area of Pulwama district Thursday night.
“The (slain) terrorist was identified as Zakir Musa after the body was recovered Friday morning. Weapons and war-like stores were recovered from the encounter site,” defence spokesman Rajesh Kalia said, adding that the operation has been called off.
Senior police officials said security forces had launched a cordon and search operation at Dadsara village and when the terrorists tried to escape, a gunfight broke out.
They said efforts were made to make them surrender but the request fell on deaf ears and the holed up terrorists started lobbing grenades using a launcher.
The officials said more security forces were rushed to the area to prevent the terrorists from escaping under the cover of darkness.
Spontaneous protests broke out Thursday night in Shopian, Pulwama, Awantipora and downtown Srinagar, with people raising slogans in favour of Musa, prompting authorities to impose curfew in some parts of the Valley as a precautionary measure.
The restrictions have been imposed in some areas of Pulwama, Srinagar, Anantnag and Budgam districts. Educational institutions have been ordered closed for the day while mobile internet services have also been snapped across Kashmir.
The officials said the decision was made keeping in view the Friday prayer gatherings.
Meanwhile, a police spokesman said Musa’s killing was a major success for security forces as he was wanted in a series of terror crimes over the past six years.
“According to the police records, Musa had a long history of terror crime records since 2013. He was initially associated with proscribed terror outfit Hizbul Mujahideen but later floated new outfit Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind (AGuH),” the spokesman said.
He said Musa was wanted by law for his complicity in a series of terror crimes including attack on security establishments and civilian atrocities.
The self-styled commander of the AGuH had in May 2017 threatened the Hurriyat Conference leaders for claiming that the movement in Kashmir was for establishing a secular state.
“We are fighting for ‘Azadi baraye Islam (Freedom for the sake of Islam)’, I am fighting for freedom for the sake of Islam. My blood will spill for Islam and not for a secular state,” he had said.
“I am warning all those hypocrite Hurriyat leaders. They must not interfere in our Islamic struggle. If they do, we will cut their heads and hang them in Lal Chowk,” he had said before parting ways with Hizbul Mujahideen.
Musa was declared as proclaimed offender by a special court of the National Investigation Agency in Punjab’s Mohali earlier this month in connection with serial blasts in Jalandhar in September last year, the spokesman said.(PTI)
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