Is ISIS In India?
ISIS – the Salafi jihadist militant group based in Syria and Iraq – has claimed to have established a province in northern Indian Province of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K)!
The Indian Army eliminated Ishfaq Ahmad Sofi, alias Abdullah Bhai, in a pre-dawn gun battle in southern Kashmir area of Shopian on May 10. Later, the Army came to know that the 34-year-old Ishfaq – a top Commander of Islamic State in Jammu & Kashmir (ISJK) – recently featured in the IS mouthpiece al-Risalah, in which he asserted the need for jihad in the Indian province and owed allegiance to the IS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi!
Immediately after the death of Ishfaq, the ISJK announced the formation of Wilayah al Hind – the Indian province established by the terror outfit – in its mouthpiece Amaq… Meanwhile, the outfit identified Ishfaq as Abu Nader al-Kashmiri! In a statement, the ISJK stated that their warriors clashed with the Indian security forces in Amshipora area of Shopian on May 10. On the other hand, the local administration in J&K rejected the claim, with Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbagh Singh saying: “This (IS claim) is all rubbish. There is nothing of that sort. Everybody would like to claim the person killed and put him on their list of martyrs.”
Ishfaq Ahmad Sofi
Another senior police officer said: “There were only two militants of ISJK. One of them defected and joined the Hizbul Mujahideen, while Sofi was the last member of the outfit. With his death, the terror outfit has been completely wiped out in the Kashmir Valley.”
al-Risalah published Ishfaq’s interview in February… Although the concerned Indian authorities did not confirm the authenticity of that interview, it went viral on the social media! In that interview, Ishfaq had claimed that he was a resident of Baramulla District in North Kashmir. According to the sources close to J&K Police, the magazine might have no contact with the IS…
ISIS flags in Kashmir
Speaking with the media, a Senior Police Officer said that the IS runs its magazines through Professionals. It is, however, seen that al-Risalah is not that kind of magazine.
The J&K Police had arrested Ishfaq in 2016 because of his alleged involvement in a terror attack carried out by Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, a Pakistan-based Islamic terrorist group operating primarily in Kashmir. After being released in June 2018, he had reportedly been hiding in an unknown place for some time. Ishfaq had reportedly joined the ISJK not very long ago. According to the Indian Intelligence Officers, ISJK may not have any direct link with the IS! They are of the opinion that the IS has inspired some youths in Kashmir to set up the ISJK…
The house of Ishfaq Ahmad Sofi with the ISJK flag
Ehtesham Bilal, a resident of Srinagar, declared in 2018 that he had joined the suicide squad of the IS. However, he surrendered after a few months. During interrogations, Bilal admitted that pro-Pakistani terror outfits, like Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (which are active in J&K and north-west Pakistan), were not at all happy with the IS’ influence in South Asia! Some of them even started realising that the IS’ ideology is, somewhat, anti-Islam!
Meanwhile, a top Indian External Affairs Ministry official has stated that by claiming to have established a province in India, the IS is trying to bolster ties with local terror outfits! As the IS had hinted that it would set up bases in India, Bangladesh and other South Asian nations in near future, New Delhi would certainly keep a tab on Kashmir and its adjacent areas, stressed the Indian official.
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