Soon after two new videos of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Zakir Rashid went viral, security forces launched a manhunt to nab him and tracked one of his hideouts in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district where the clip was believed to have been shot.
Security forces are “inching closer to him through our informer network,” police officials said about Zakir, who has purportedly claimed in the two-minute video that his outfit had got hold of the database of all “informers” working with the agencies.
Launching a manhunt, security forces conducted an “intelligence-based operation” in Batipora Dadsara village of Tral in the district and “busted” the “studio hideout” where the video was believed to have been filmed, they said.
Some clothes and other material used by Zakir alias Moosa and other militants in different videos and photographs were recovered from the house which was raided by the security forces, the officials said.
“We identified the room and other things that appear in HM commander’s videos and photos. He may have been using one of the rooms of the said house as a studio, where he used to record his videos,” the officials said.
The house owner is absconding and a case has been registered, they said, adding investigation has been taken up and “strict action will be taken against all over-ground workers and harbourers of militants in the future as well.”
In the video which is in circulation on social media in Kashmir, a man, who cannot be seen but has a voice-over, claims to be Zakir and is heard saying that the militant outfit has gained access to ‘database’ of “informers” of security forces.
However, the claim was disputed by the police.
Another video was also doing the rounds on social media, showing Zakir holding a rifle and donning army fatigue.
In the video, he is seen issuing threats to policemen while speaking in Urdu.
Zakir had taken over the militant outfit in the Valley after his predecessor Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter with security forces in July this year.