New Delhi: The army gunned down Zakir Musa, longest surviving terrorist and lone member of the Burhan Wani group in the Kashmir Valley. His killing is not only a major victory for the security men but a message for the youngsters that those who pick up guns will be sent to graves.

According to the senior officers in the forces, the army is going all guns ablaze to clean up terrorists in Kashmir. They want to keep a check on fresh recruitment, and by killing Musa, the message is loud and clear that no one will be spared if they stand against the forces. Youngsters in the valley have been seeing these terrorists as their icon and have joined the war against forces.

It was in July 2015 the photograph of young terrorists all wearing camouflage combat uniform and holding AK-47 rifles in apple orchards went viral. The reason behind this was for the first time local terrorists in large number posed in front of the camera without wearing any mask. These terrorists usually appeared with a cover on their face. The image was posted online, and almost everyone in the valley had that picture and teenagers started considering them heroes.

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“Teenagers in the valley were keeping picture or Burhan Wani gang in their mobile phone and considered them as their heroes.  It became a mission for the forces to kill each terrorist in that picture. They were trying to set up new-age terrorism in the valley, and our aim was to uproot it,” said a senior officer.

At the time when the photo was widely circulated, many youths left their homes and picked up guns to be called “Burhan brigade”. But security men marked each one of them and one after the other terrorists, and their associates were killed. It was Musa who kept running and hiding for so many years.

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Earlier this month, security men killed wanted terrorist Lateef Tiger, who was among the last standing militants of Burhan group. He was killed along with two of his associates in an encounter with army and police at Imam Sahab area of south Kashmir’s Shopian district.

Security forces said that pictures of these terrorists are still being used for new recruitment and radicalization of youth the valley. Even during their funeral, many youngsters had participated. Something similar was witnessed during the funeral of Musa on Friday. Some local youths also pelted stones on security forces on Thursday when the encounter was going on.  

Who was Zakir Musa?  

Zakir Musa alias Zakir Rasheed dropped out of college to join terrorism and was active since 2013. He wanted to create an Islamic Caliphate in Kashmir. Inspired from Al-Qaeda, he had formed Ansar-ul-Gazwat-ul Hind (AGH) but had hardly few members. He was earlier associated with banned terror outfit Hizbul Mujahideen between 2013 and 2017. It was then that he became a part of the Burhan Wani group.

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Musa, who was out of reach of security men, had been releasing audio messages. Recently in an audio message, he threatened people to boycott Lok Sabha elections. In another video, he had called for a religious battle in Kashmir and established Islamic rule. One of the reasons for surviving so long could be attributed to a low profile maintained by them. Musa was not directly involved in any major terror attack but was trying to spread a new terror wing in the Valley.