A radical militant leader from Kashmir has called the Indian Muslims "spineless" for not aggressively launching jihad against their adversaries. Zakir Musa, who broke away from the Kashmir-centred extremist group Hizbul Mujahideen and joined al-Qaeda, urged the Indian Muslims to "stand up against oppression".
Musa, who was once seen as a potential leader of Hizbul Mujahideen, has issued a 4-minute 15-second audio clip, on Monday (5 June). Though the authorities have not yet confirmed the veracity of Musa's voice in the recording, multiple unidentified officials speaking to Indian media outlets have agreed that it appears to be authentic.
"It is utterly shameful that Indian Muslims are spineless and don't act against the perpetrators of such crimes," Musa said in a Kashmir-accented Urdu referring to various attacks on Islamic followers by self-styled vigilante groups known as gau rakshaks (cow protectors).
"We will take revenge for every atrocity. Muslims of India, there is still time to emerge. Form groups and do jihad against these kafirs (infidels). Show these gau rakshaks what it means being a Muslim. Learn from your history," he said in the audio. This is the first statement by a Kashmir militant leader on cow protectors.
The 23-year-old former engineering student is a known extremist in the region. He had earlier called for the beheading of Kashmir separatist leaders for engaging in talks with the government. "This war is not of Kashmir only. This war is between Islam and infidelity... We will establish Shariah not only in India but in the whole world," Musa was heard saying in the audio tape which is being widely circulated in the social media.
He continued: "Indian Muslim is the most shameless community I have witnessed. They don't raise voices against injustices." About 15% of Indian population are from the Muslim community – the second largest after Hindus in the country – roughly making up to 172 million people.
Kashmir valley has been witnessing unrest ever since Hizbul Mujahideen's leader Burhan Wani was killed by Indian security forces in July 2016. His death has become a pivotal point in stoking a series of protests, rallies and clashes across Kashmir with no credible solution in sight so far.