A wanted Hizbul Mujahideen militant appeared with an AK-47 rifle at a largely attended funeral of his slain colleague in south Kashmir on Saturday and said linking global terror network Al-Qaeda with Kashmir was to defame their movement.
Riyaz Ahmad Naikoo, with the gun slung over his left shoulder, addressed the funeral gathering for nearly 20 minutes during which he said the recent statement about setting up of an Al-Qaeda unit in Kashmir was aimed at “maligning the freedom struggle of Kashmiri people which is an indigenous and home-grown movement”.
He did not name his former Hizb colleague Zakir Musa who has been named head of the Al-Qaeda wing in Kashmir and said all those holding the flag of Islam “are not necessarily our own”.
“Linking our struggle with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State is a ploy to defame it,” he said.
Pro-Pakistan slogans were raised during the funeral procession. Naikoo’s pictures at the funeral were widely circulated online.
His accomplice Sharieq Ahmad was earlier killed in a gunfight with security forces in Tahab village of Pulwama district along with another local Hizbul militant.