Divide within militant camp spills into open, UJC alleges Musa part of Indian conspiracy

A deepening divide within Kashmir’s militant camp has come to surface as Pakistan-based United Jehad Council (UJC) struggles to contain the growing influence of its former commander Zakir Musa, a hardcore Islamist.
The UJC, a conglomerate of several leading militant groups loyal to Pakistan, issued a damning allegation against Musa and described him as a “façade” used by Indian intelligence agencies. Musa, who has publicly vowed to fight for an Islamist cause in Kashmir and disavowed fighting for a secular state, is a former field commander of Hizbul Mujahideen. He left the outfit following his threat to separatists and disagreements over goals of the militant movement.
A series of statements in which he affirmed support for the establishment of the caliphate and rejected the Pakistan government and its army as betrayers, has put Musa at odds with the militants loyal to Pakistan, including the powerful UJC. The militant conglomerate in its statement to two local news agencies on Thursday evening alleged that intelligence agencies have created “a new Ikhwan”, a reference to a dreaded counter-insurgency militia that sprang from militant ranks in the mid-1990s. “A new Ikhwan is being created for the past several months in the name of ISIS and Al-Qaida, using the façade of Zakir Musa. Indian paid agents are being recruited for this brigade,” said UJC spokesman Syed Sadakat Hussain.
The UJC has routinely found refuge in branding its opponents as agents of intelligence agencies. In June 2015, it levelled similar allegations against another militant commander Abdul Qayoom Najar, the founder of radical group Lashkar-e-Islam who was killed near the Line of Control last month. Even as the ideological splintering within the militant camp is getting crystallised, the security agencies say it makes little difference.
“We are very clear, if anyone is holding a gun, he is a terrorist. We are not here to take advantage (of the militant infighting),” Director General of Police Shesh Paul Vaid told Kashmir Post.
Musa, who is on the most wanted list of the police and Army, has become a rallying cry at protests across Kashmir since the July announcement by the Al-Qaida-affiliated media channel that named the 24-year-old militant as commander of a new group Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind.
In the subsequent months, Musa has also succeeded in gaining the support of Lashkar-e-Toiba’s Kashmir chief Abu Dujana and a number of other militants – a significant setback to pro-Pakistan groups.