Srinagar: In a first, Jammu and Kashmir Police Chief on Tuesday admitted that the ISIS group has a presence in the Valley, however, he said that it was not “substantial”.
Vaid said that there is even a possibility of carrying out a lone wolf kind of an attack.
Pertinently, the Islamic State (IS)’s mouthpiece claimed responsibility for February 25’s attack in which a policeman guarding the residence of Hurriyat leader Fazal Haq Qureshi was killed. The incident took place in Soura area of Srinagar, and militants escaped with the slain policeman’s rifle also.
“Assassinated an element of police in firing near the city of Srinagar in Kashmir yesterday [February 25],” ‘Al Amaq News Agency’ of the IS has claimed. This is the second time in three months that the IS has claimed responsibility for an attack on policemen in Srinagar.
Earlier, the group had made its first claim in the attack after a sub-inspector of Jammu and Kashmir Police was killed and another injured in Zakura Srinagar.
‘Al Amaq’ had claimed that the IS had carried out an attack in Zakura, on Srinagar’s outskirts, in which a policeman and a militant were killed. The agency, however, had said that a Pakistani policeman was killed in the attack, raising doubts about its claim. The channel ‘Al-Qaraar’, investigation has found, also claimed that Srinagar militant Mugees Ahmad Mir, who was killed on November 17 last year in an encounter with the police, was the first militant of the outfit.
However, the authorities in Srinagar had denied any links of the attacks to the militant outfit.
“I don’t think ISIS has any footprints here,” Vaid had said.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had also dismissed reports about the presence of ISIS in the state, saying the Indian Muslims would never allow such outfits to have a base in the country.
Interestingly, the ISIS flags have surfaced in the valley from time to time, especially at the funeral of militants. When the funeral of Mugees Ahmad of Parimpora in outskirts of Srinagar was carried out in mid-November, his body was wrapped in an ISIS flag.