Zakir Rashid Bhat, alias Zakir Musa, the so-called chief of Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, a group affiliated with Al Qaeda, was on Thursday killed in an encounter with security forces in Dadsara Village, in Tral in south Kashmir's Pulwama District.
Zakir Musa had reportedly visited the area to meet family members but ran out of luck as he was trapped by the security forces in the thickly forested area.
Confirming the news of his death in the fierce gunfight late Thursday night, Ministry of Defence spokesman in Srinagar Friday morning said, "one terrorist was killed in a late night operation in South Kashmir's Pulwama district". They said government forces laid barbed wires on main roads and sealed the Jamia Masjid and its neighbouring areas.
As the forces appealed to them to surrender, the terrorists started launching grenades using a launcher. He was also a former Hizbul Mujahideen commander.
Musa had threatened to behead separatist leaders of the Hurriyat for calling the Kashmir issue a political struggle instead of a religious one.
Adding that incriminating materials including arms & ammunition was recovered from the site of encounter.
"Further, He was declared as pro-claimed offender by NIA special court Mohali Punjab on 2nd May, 2019 in NIA case RC-39/2018/NIA/DLI". The investigation of the said case was later taken over by the NIA.
In July 2017 Musa was named as the head of Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, a militant group whose establishment was announced on an official al-Qaida messaging channel.
Musa dropped out of his engineering course in 2013 to join Kashmir's largest militant group Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) fighting Indian rule and later became a part of a group led by charismatic militant Burhan Wani.
His father chose to send Zakir Bhat out of the Kashmir Valley so that he remained away from the daily tensions that distract Kashmiri boys and girls from focussing on their studies.
The security forces handed over the body of Zakir Musa to his parents at Noorpora in Tral for last rites.
Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Ahmad Khan told Kashmir News Service (KNS) that classwork in all schools and colleges will remained suspended in Kashmir.
In a video released in 2018, Musa urged and encouraged Indian Muslims to attack Indian Army personnel, as well as employees of companies looking to invest in India.