Hizbul Mujahideen is the largest indigenous armed resistance group in Jammu and Kashmir. It has been fighting against the Indian occupation of Kashmir since 1989. On 05th August 2019, India stripped Kashmir of its partial autonomy and paved the way for settler colonialism. Since then Kashmir has been put under a heavy military crackdown by the Indian state. This is the first interview by a senior resistance commander since then. Rakib is active since March 2020. He believes Kashmiris will put an end to Indian occupation no matter how much the Indian state strengthens its grip over the territory.
This interview is a part of the discussion between Hizb commander Rakib and an anonymous group of Kashmiri youngsters who met him. Due to security reasons the identity of these boys is kept anonymous. Henceforth will be called “Interviewer”. Some of the answers in this conversation have been transliterated from Urdu to keep the essence of the conversation alive and meaningful.
Interviewer: Tell our readers about yourself and your organization?
Rakib: My name is Rakib. I was born in 1994 in Muscat, Oman. My father hailed from Kashmir and my mother was an ethnic Baloch. My parents were healthcare professionals. A few years later, we moved to Saudi Arabia briefly and then back again to Oman.
My maternal grandmother acted as my guardian in Oman in my teenage years.
I studied medicine in Romania briefly but dropped out. In the Autumn of 2013, I reached Pakistan to attend a marriage ceremony of one of my maternal cousins in Karachi. Something very unusual happened that transformed my life forever. I was accepted as a soldier in Jihad. I spent many months in Afghanistan.
In 2018 I made up my mind to come to occupied Kashmir but failed. Finally in March 2020 I reached Kashmir.
I am a soldier of Jihad. Hizbul Mujahideen is my mother and Jihad is my life.
Interviewer: Tell us about your journey in the field of resistance.
Rakib: My father would tell me about Kashmir. He hoped that I would go to Kashmir one day and meet his family and friends. He however would always warn me about Indian Brahamanical politics. Two of my father’s cousins had already been martyred. My paternal grandfather and his brother had been plebiscite workers as well. I got to know this all in my childhood but understood it much later.
The path that I have chosen isn’t easy. I sometimes don’t eat for three to four days. I have been out in the open in harsh winters as well. But that is how it is supposed to be. I have no regrets.
We all have to die one day. I pray to Allah that my life and martyrdom should be meaningful. However, I have worked very hard in my training to beat the harsh environment and the occupation forces.
Interviewer: What was your motivation to join armed resistance? Why not other forms of resistance? Like political, democratic, human rights, diplomatic?
Rakib: Every form of Resistance is Jihad. If you are fighting intending to bring down Indian military occupation and enacting Islamic values of Justice, you are a Mujahid. However, the need of the hour is to engage India militarily and take the war to Indian cities.
Interviewer: How do you justify violence? What has armed resistance achieved so far?
Rakib: There is nothing like violence and non-violence. Resistance is Resistance. These labels have been imposed on us. We are fighting injustice. India has illegally occupied us. It is carrying an onslaught on our religion, culture, identity and economy, our blood and bodies and yet our reaction and defense are criminalized.
Interviewer: What are your goals and how can you achieve them militarily with so small number fighting against the world’s largest army?
Rakib: Every Kashmiri Muslim is a fighter. We are not small in number. It is just that we lack resources and training. People often try to indulge in the number game. We are fighting an illegal occupation. We ain’t contesting an election.
This is a war. We enact a strategy, it succeeds sometimes and at times it fails too. But we learn from it and try new strategies.
I obviously can’t be disclosing our plans here but let me reassure you, we won’t stop trying till India kneels.
Interviewer: What is your opinion about global Jihadist movements? Do you subscribe to them?
Rakib: I have met some of the most brilliant minds in global resistance movements. However, resistance movements that are local in character are better suited for warfare and strategy and should always take the lead. I have learnt a lot from many other groups. I respect them all. I did not leave them because they were not good but because of my priority to fight for my Kashmir. I believe that every Jihadi organization should come to Kashmir and fight against the Indian occupation but be subservient to indigenous organizations. We haven’t and we won’t stop any organization from coming to Kashmir, however, the strategy and operations should be well coordinated with the local organizations. I am not personally averse to any help coming from any side against Indian Occupation. We have to help others under occupation and take help from others as well. Every conscious Muslim is duty-bound to help us.
Interviewer: What is the role of Pakistan in Kashmir jihad?
Rakib: Every Muslim must support us. They are duty-bound to do so. We can’t beg for support. It is their religious obligation to support us. On the day of Judgment, all the Muslims would be asked, what they accomplished for the enslaved and occupied people of Kashmir. Only those who would have done their bit would stand out. Therefore we are not begging for support from anyone.
Pakistan has always been at the forefront of providing support to our aspirations. Sometimes though, certain governments and individuals in Pakistan try to shut their eyes. But the people of Pakistan have never accepted this. They have rendered numerous sacrifices, unmatched in history.
However, sacrifices have been acknowledged and reciprocated by enormous love. Mothers in Kashmir have laid Pakistani flags on the bodies of their martyr sons.
Our predecessors have told us to march to their graves with the Pakistan flag and national anthem, once the last Indian soldier leaves this valley. Such love and respect are uncalled for. Even the worst of worst Indian collaborators have a soft corner for Pakistan.
However, The government of Pakistan needs to understand this, every time a Kashmiri man is martyred, beaten, or tortured, every time a Kashmiri house is bulldozed, blasted, and attached, the idea of Pakistan fails. Allah is indeed the best Guardian but Pakistan was created for the protection of Muslims and their lands. Every time the Pakistani government forgets this, a sigh of complaint from the enslaved souls reaches Allah. And we indeed should fear the wrath of Allah!
Interviewer: What about Kashmiri women? Are they playing any active or passive role in armed resistance?
Rakib: Kashmiri women and men, are all soldiers of resistance.
Interviewer: Your interview comes at a very crucial and critical time. The resistance is at its lowest in 75 years I would say. People are disappointed, frustrated, and depressed. There are policemen, informers, spies and administrators, most of them are Kashmiris but they are at direct war with you when we see their actions. What do you think about such people? Are they traitors or are they simply doing it for their livelihood?
Rakib: We hereby acknowledge the brutality of the Indian state and that it has reached its peak. But that is what military occupations do. You cannot expect military occupations to be kind. People think that freedom can be negotiated, but occupations are not negotiable. Occupations are terminated and freedom is snatched.
There are traitors and collaborators in every resistance movement. Enough warnings have been given. It is time to act now. I have credible evidence that Shaheed Burhan Wani and Shaheed Riyaz Naikoo were kind enough to forgive some of the traitors, even when they could have eliminated them. However, at this point, we can’t afford compassion and kindness for collaborators and traitors.
Some people are trying to befool people and joining Indian political parties. Some have made new political parties. There is mushrooming of Indian political parties and some self-styled activists. This is a dangerous trend. All of them are being funded by the Indian army directly or indirectly.
Recently a political party made by the Indian army was exposed as their members rebelled. Every pro-India political group and these so called electoral political parties are creations of the Indian deep state and its agencies.
They are a group of clowns, some of them go on pilgrimages to befool people, some of them are wearing head scarves to deceive people, and some are selling the wine of development and some the promise of statehood. I have studied their psychology and have done detailed research on their operation. They are all run and encouraged by Indian agencies and the army.
They are part of occupation and are critical to our existence.
Interviewer: Kashmir diaspora has never owned armed resistance on big platforms. Why? Does it lack intellectual reasoning? Or is it simply they are scared of the West’s rejection of jihad or is it because they are themselves anti-jihad or liberals? Do you have any messages for them?
Rakib: Our resistance does not need the ownership of anyone. Our enemies have been able to criminalize our narrative of resistance. We need to fight at every possible front without criminalizing each other.
The diaspora has to be vibrant and decriminalize our resistance movement.
It has to debunk the myths. It has to build solidarities. It has to act as our ambassador. We need to engage with people rather than governments.
Even under the western notions of law, we are a legitimate resistance movement acting in defense. So apologetic and Islamaphobic behavior is to be shunned. Also, why do we need to structure our movement to the whims of some false narratives?
We will do what is good for us, not what suits anyone’s narrative.
Interviewer: As you mentioned you came from an economically progressive country. People from across the Muslim world and Kashmir go to these countries for better life and economic opportunities. You could have lived a lavish/luxurious life but you choose to live a life which is extremely difficult. Do you think Kashmir jihad is worth your life? Did you ever regret your decision?
Rakib: I am not special. I am no different than any other Mujahid. My economic privilege doesn’t make me special. In fact, it is a burden. My family background also doesn’t make me militarily strong. Yes I had the advantage of training and military education which most of the fighters in Kashmir don’t have. I want to tell all my brothers that train your mind to conquer, protect your identity and wear the veil of secrecy. Carry out lone attacks, don’t tell about it, don’t brag about your affiliation, don’t brag about your weapons. Do your work and go back to your life. Become an ordinary person.
Don’t do anything that marks you out of the population.
Mix with the population.
Keep your enemy guessing.
Hit them where it hurts the most. Sacrifice for a cause. Don’t sacrifice for sacrificing. Running away from Jihad isn’t going to save you from death. Jihad is an obligation just like Nimaz and fasting. For Muslims in Kashmir Jihad is mandatory.
Interviewer: What do you want to tell youth who want to carry resistance but lack resources?
Rakib: You don’t sometimes need to do anything special. If you are committed to fighting your enemy, Identify your enemy and Collaborators : Jammu and Kashmir police and their families, All Indian(pro-Indian) political parties and their workers.
You don’t need guns to attack all of them. Use knives and stones to kill them. Set their houses on fire. Loot weapons wherever possible. Cut their throats. Kidnap their children.
Make it difficult for them to mix in society. After you commit an act, take a rest and plan for your next attack.
If you are identified, run to forests, contact active fighters Or loot a weapon, snatch a rifle and plan your next attack.
Don’t wait for them to come to you.
If you are choosing a hard target, like an army convoy or banker or a protected stooge, soften your target first. Use petrol bombs. It is not rocket science to make a petrol bomb. You just need petrol and some nut-bolts if possible and lob it on targets.
You can make a grenade with a metallic elbow pipe, you can make use of common material to make weapons.
Don’t talk and discuss much, just act.
Disclaimer: The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the editor of the Kashmir Discourse.
Leave a Reply