By Umar Manzoor Shah
International terror group Islamic State has claimed its first attack on Indian government forces in violence-torn Jammu and Kashmir, India’s only Muslim majority state bordering Pakistan.
The propaganda wing of Islamic State, the Amaq News Agency, claimed it was involved in a Nov. 17 raid on a police post on the outskirts of Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir.
One police officer, sub-inspector Imran Tak, was killed and a junior officer was injured.
In retaliatory action, alleged militant Mugees Mir was killed and another man was taken into custody.
Mir was believed to be an associate of Zakir Musa, who claims to head an Al-Qaeda wing in Kashmir.
A police official told ucanews.com that the first instance of Islamic State trying to recruit young people in Kashmir through social media was detected in 2014.
Investigators said that Mir was wearing a black T-shirt with Islamic State symbols printed on it when he was killed.
Thousands thronged Mir’s hometown of Parimpora in Srinagar for the funeral in which his body was wrapped in an Islamic State flag. Banners were raised with pro-Islamic State and pro-caliphate slogans.
Jitendra Singh, a minister in the office of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said the government had taken note of what constituted a “serious development”.
However, state police chief S.P. Vaid said the Islamic State claim of responsibility for the police post raid was yet to be verified. Vaid said he had serious doubts about Islamic State having a presence in the region.
In March this year, Zakir Rashid Bhat, alias Musa, a former commander of militant outfit Hizbul-Mujahideen, released a video asking people to fight for the establishment of a caliphate in Kashmir.
“I see that many people in Kashmir are engaged in a war of nationalism, which is forbidden in Islam,” Zakir said.
“It should be exclusively for Islam so that Sharia law is established here.”
The militants later issued an open appeal for Kashmiri youth to be willing to die as martyrs in the fight for Islamic rule.
In the last 30 years, an estimated 100,000 people have died in Jammu and Kashmir — including civilians, militants and army personnel — in an insurgency against Indian forces.