Kashmir becoming hub of pan-Islamic pro-Al Qaeda elements?

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Fears of dreaded terror outfits Islamic State for Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Al Qaeda making its debut in the terror plagued Kashmir are gaining grounds after security forces reportedly saw their flags in the valley. The security forces reportedly saw several masked youths holding flags and banners of the terror groups in the valley after Eid prayers in Srinagar.

As per a report published in DNA, masked men surfaced after the Eid-ul-Fitr prayers at Eidgah in Srinagar's sensitive old city areas and waved ISIS and Al Qaeda black flags and banners with Kalima (the first basic fundamental of Islam) inscribed on them. Some men even used the flags as masks to hide their faces.

Reason for violence on Eid day

Earlier, clashes erupted between stone-throwing youths and security personnel at over a dozen places in the valley, including Srinagar, the hub of the separatist campaign. The clashes were reported from Baramulla, Sopore and Anantnag towns and some places in Srinagar city. In most places, police exercised restraint while dispersing the protesters keeping in mind the Eid atmosphere.

To protest the Israeli aggression on Gaza, people started shouting anti-Israel and Pro-Palestine slogans soon after the Eid prayers. The call for 30 minute post-namaz protests was reportedly given by pro-Pakistan Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani to agitate against attacks on Gaza.

Chilling reminder of Kishtwar riots, 2013

This incident comes as a chilling reminder of last year's Kishtwar riots, which also occurred on the Eid day, when scores of Kashmiri youths chanted pro-Pakistani and anti-India slogans soon after completing namaz.

Trouble in Kishtwar district, 226 kms from Srinagar, erupted after a group of people raised anti-national slogans after Eid prayers, officials and locals said, adding that this led to violent clashes. The communal clashes spread like wild fire in other parts of the district with two groups indulging in stone-pelting.

The communal assault on the Hindu minority community had resulted in three deaths and destruction of the Hindus' properties, besides causing migration of a few Hindu families to safer places.

Is ISIS or Al Qaeda gaining ground in Kashmir?

As of now, there are no reports of presence of these two pan-Islamic Jihadi organizations in Jammu & Kashmir but there are a large number of foreign militants, mostly Pakistani, operating across the Valley.

Security forces were however rattled when Al Qaeda released a video in June calling upon the Muslims in Kashmir to wage Jihad against Indian authorities, said the DNA report.

If such bodies will gain ground in Kashmir, then it will be a major problem for security forces and the country which is already facing the brunt of terrorism.

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