On Friday, the Jammu and Kashmir police said for the first time that the Islamic State has entered the Valley. In an already crowded terror market in Kashmir, the ISIS has been trying to make its presence felt for long.
Four terrorists of the outfit, including Dawood Ahmad Sofi were killed in an encounter at Sirigufwara in Anantnag district on Friday.
"Terrorists reportedly affiliated to ISJK (Islamic State Jammu and Kashmir)," tweeted Dr Shesh Paul Vaid, Director General of Police, Jammu and Kashmir.
Not the first time:
The first time that the ISIS claimed an attack in the Valley was back in November 2017. The announcement was made by Amaq, the mouth-piece of the outfit. It claimed that it had killed a police man and wounded another.
Investigation details of that attack available with OneIndia show that it was the doing of Zakir Musa, who had broken away from the Hizbul Mujahideen.
Terrorists had attacked a police guard at the residence of Hurriyat Conference leader Fazal Haq Qureshi at the Bilal Colony in Srinagar. Constable Farooq Ahmad was grievously injured in the attack and was immediately rushed to the hospital where he succumbed. The terrorists also snatched a rifle before fleeing from the spot.
Sources say that the attack bore the signature of Musa. Moreover an attack on the Hurriyat was being planned by him. While signing out of the Hizbul he had launched a scathing attack on the Hurriyat and said that they were cheating the people of Kashmir.
In the same month, investigators had picked up intercepts of ISIS terrorists discussing among themselves, about how one of their men were killed.
Chatting under the name Al-Qarar, the members also called for more strikes in the Valley. The channel claimed to be the official Telegram channel of ISJK... (ISJK) has claimed that Mugees Ahmad alias Khattab, R/O Parimpora Srinagar, who got killed in a shootout in Zakura area of Srinagar, was the first militant of the organisation," the communication sent by the J&K police to the police stations had said.
The ideology and the death of Mugees:
The ISIS has been operating under various names in the Valley. One such group is known as the Tehrik-ul-Mujahideen. Intelligence Bureau officials tell OneIndia that the names are different, but the ideology is the same.
For this we need to revisit the case of Mugees Ahmad Mir. He was killed in the Valley and the ISIS was quick to claim that he was their man. At first, the agencies did not buy the claim. However the events leading up to his death at Zakura and the subsequent funeral made it clear that he was an ISIS man.
Mugees at the time of the attack was dressed in a black t-shirt with the Islamic verses that are used by the outfit. His wish was to be buried with the Islamic State flag, which was obliged by the family members. During the investigations, the police had found plenty of ISIS literature at his home.
Following his death, he was claimed by both the ISIS and the TuM. Two separate statements were issued which led to some amount of confusion. However now it is clear that the TuM which was formed in the early 1990s has now merged with the ISIS. The ideology, IB officials say is identical.
Records suggest that at least 8 terrorists of the ISIS have been killed in the Valley. The list also includes a man from Telangana known as Mohammad Taufeeq.
According to Dr. Vaid, the ISIS does not have a infrastructure in Kashmir. The group is more ideologically driven and is looking to widen its ambit.
The Global Islamic Council:
The talk of the ISIS and Kashmir dates back to 2013 when the outfit made its big announcement. While speaking of establishing the Caliphate, it also spoke about the Global Islamic Council.
The Global Islamic Council comprises several places at which the Caliphate was to be established. The long term goal was to create an Islamic nation and establish the Caliphate. When the chief of the ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Bhagdadi spoke about the Global Islamic Council, he had marked two places in India which was to be part of it. They included both Kashmir and Gujarat. Since then the ISIS operatives in India have been working towards that goal and has made several attempts to set up shop in both Gujarat and Kashmir.