The head of Hizbul Mujahideen Zakir Musa on Saturday quit the terror outfit after the group refused to back his statement warning that separatist leaders would be beheaded for calling the Kashmir issue "political".
Musa announced his decision to quit through a fresh audio message released on social media.
Musa had taken over Hizbul after the killing of Burhan Wani in July last year.
"Following my last audio message, a lot of confusion is being spread in Kashmir. I stand by my speech and by my message," Musa said in the latest audio clip released on social media.
Earlier in the day, Hizbul Mujahideen distanced itself from the statement of Musa against the separatist leadership of Hurriyat Party, signalling a rift in the militant outfit which has been fighting for Jammu and Kashmir’s annexation to Pakistan since 1989.
“The outfit has neither got anything to do with the statement of Moosa nor the statement is acceptable to it,” Hizbul Mujahideen spokesman Saleem Hashmi said in a statement from Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
Terming Musa’s remarks in an audio slideshow that surfaced in Kashmir’s social media as his “personal opinion”, Hashmi cautioned that any statement or step which will create confusion “can prove a death knell for our struggle”.
Reacting to the statement, Musa said in his audio message: "Hizbul Mujahideeen has said that we have nothing to do with the statement of Zakir Musa. So, if Hizbul Mujahideen doesn't represent me then I too don't represent them. From today onwards, I have no association with Hizbul Mujahideen."
Musa, in his early 20s, said he had not said anything against a particular person or Hurriyat Conference Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani, "but I have spoken only against that individual who is against Islam and talks about freedom to establish a secular state".
"We are fighting for 'Azadi baraye Islam (Freedom for the sake of Islam)', I am fighting for freedom for the sake of Islam. My blood will spill for Islam and not for a secular state," he said.