Islamic State Flags in Kashmir Worry Security Personnel
The Islamic State flag has been seen thrice in Kashmir
NEW DELHI: A day after Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah dismissed the waving of Islamic State (IS, also known as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, ISIS) flags in Kashmir as an “act of idiots,” a senior army official cautioned that it was a matter of grave concern that could impact a large number of alienated youth in the state.
The general officer commanding the Srinagar-based 15 corps, Lt. Gen Subrata Saha, said, “The emergence of ISIS flags is a grave concern and deserves the highest attention of the security agencies to prevent the youth of Kashmir from getting lured into ISIS.” The General added that IS has the ability to attract a large number of volunteers, and thus, measures to keep Kashmiri youth away from the militant group, needed to be taken.
“The ability of ISIS to attract large number of volunteers is a matter of concern. There are believed to be 10,000 to 15,000 volunteers at present fighting for ISIS. The fanaticism shown by the fighters is also a cause,” the General said, as quoted by PTI.
The General’s comments follow Chief Minister Abdullah’s denial that IS existed in Jammu and Kashmir, a day earlier. The Chief Minister blamed the media for giving undue coverage to misplaced and isolated “idiotcis acts.”
Earlier on Tuesday Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had denied the presence of ISIS in Kashmir and said that some media organizations are giving undue coverage to some youths “Idiotic act”. "You have to understand that no ISIS group has been identified so far in the valley. The flag was waved by some idiots, which does not mean that ISIS has any presence in Kashmir,” Omar Abdullah said, adding, “Unfortunately, some channels have tried to make an issue out of this and drag me into this as if we are not doing anything about it.”
The Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister said that on the three occasions the IS flag has been seen in the valley, a case has been registered and some arrests have been made.
"The tailor who made this flag has also been identified and action is being taken against him. To say that the issue is being ignored and no action is being taken by the state government is absolutely wrong," Abdullah reiterated.
Earlier, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, had said that he was not worried about the Islamic State or Al Qaeda making inroads into India, as Indian muslims adhere to a “non violent tradition.”
The brandishing of flags in India, likely isolated incidents, coincide however with six Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leaders having pledged allegiance to the Islamic State across the border. "I show allegiance to the commander of faithful, Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Qureshi al Hussaini, and will listen and obey every order of you and will follow your orders regardless of what circumstances may be," Shahidullah Shahid, the chief spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, said in a statement.
The Pakistani establishment has cautioned not to make too much of the incident, as a vast majority of the Pakistani Taliban remains affiliated with the Afghan Taliban, although recently, rifts have emerged.