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India troops kill top Kashmir militant linked to al-Qaida

Zakir Musa Kashmir's most wanted militant killed

Before making official announcement of Musa's killing and handing over his body to his family, the authorities clamped curfew in several parts of Kashmir valley, including downtown Srinagar, and switched off internet and broadband services to prevent spread of rumours. A joint team of security forces, including the Indian Army's 42 Rashtriya Rifles, Special Operations Group, and Central Reserve Police Force, was involved in the operation.

Musa joined Kashmir's largest indigenous rebel group, Hizbul Mujahideen, in 2013 after dropping out of his engineering course.

The damaged house where Zakir Musa was killed at Dadsara village in Tral, south of Srinagar, on Friday. The terrorist was Zakir Musa, the commander of the group Ansar Ghazwat ul-Hindi, which is affiliated with Al-Qaeda.

A police officer of Pulwana district said that apart from minor incidents of stone pelting, the situation has remained largely peaceful.

Separatist leaders, who challenge India's sovereignty over Kashmir, have repeatedly rejected the presence of outside groups, including al-Qaida, and have accused India of portraying the Kashmiri struggle as extremist.

Also known as Zakir Musa, he was seen as a successor to Burhan Wani, a popular Hizbul Mujahideen commander whose death in 2016 sparked clashes that left 90 civilians dead.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) in its charge sheet said the conspiracy was hatched by Musa to "target security installations throughout the country". There had been an increase in his following after he quit the Hizbul to head the al Qaeda linked group. He floated the Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind and established himself as an Ameer of the outfit, which allegedly claimed allegiance with global terror outfit al-Qaeda. His father, Abdul Rashid Bhat, is a senior engineer working for the Jammu and Kashmir government. "Defied #Hizb continuously. Commendable & laudable efforts by @adgpi @northerncomd_ia @kashmirpolice @crpf_srinagar", the Srinagar based Chinar Corps, also knowns as 15 Corps, tweeted in the morning. The authorities imposed strict restrictions on public movement across Kashmir valley on Friday.

But neither the preventative measures nor the security lockdown or torrential rain stopped thousands of people from attending his funeral or gathering in protest. The security forces had sealed the roads going to Noorpora to avoid any law and order problem in the area.