Srinagar, July 13: The Hizbul Mujahideen was quick to find a replacement for Burhan Wani who was killed last week in an encounter. The name of the new commander in Jammu and Kashmir is Mehmood Ghaznavi.
Intelligence Bureau officials tell OneIndia that Ghaznavi is an alias and the person in question that we are talking about could be the 21-year-old Zakir Rashid Bhat.
Bhat was close to Burhan and he had joined the Hizbul Mujahideen last year. His decision to join the Hizbul Mujahideen was taken following the killing of Burhan's brother Khalid by the security forces.
The appointment of Ghaznavi was made by the head of the outfit, Syed Salauddin through a statement on a local news agency KNS.
Who is Mehmood Ghaznavi?
There is very little information on Ghaznavi. The police had in fact last year declared a cash reward on him. The Jammu and Kashmir police too were seeking out information relating to this man. Officials say that Ghaznavi is a resident of Rathsuna in South Kashmir.
He was a good friend of Burhan's and had joined the Hizbul Mujahideen only an year ago. It was the killing of Burhan's brother Khalid which prompted him to join the Hizbul Mujahideen in April last year.
There is however some confusion about Ghaznavi. While there are clear indications that this man is Zakir, another section feels it could be another operative who goes by the name Sabzar Ahmed Bhat who too was close to Burhan.
Zakir Bhat is aged 21 and was an engineering student in a Chandigarh college. A low key operative, he is unlikely to take the path that Burhan took. Burhan had taken to the social media to make his point.
Chosing a low profile commander may have been a deliberate attempt by the Hizbul Mujahideen which wants some of the heat on it to be lowered.
The journey into the Hizbul Mujahideen:
Officials say that it was following the death of Khalid that he decided to join the outfit. Following that incident he left behind a note for his father who was a government employee.
In that note he wrote that he could not bear the atrocities that the people of Kashmir were facing and hence it is time that "I perform Jihad".
He had been active since a young age. He had also taken part in several protests that took place in Kashmir including the one in 2010. Following this, he left to Chandigarh to do his engineering. Upon his return, he felt that he needed to fight for Kashmir.