While the Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for the attack on police on the outskirts of Srinagar on Friday through the Amaq news agency, the Jammu and Kashmir Police have ruled out presence of the global terror outfit in the Valley.
On Saturday, Amaq claimed that the IS carried out an attack in Zakura area. The agency, however, said a Pakistani soldier was killed in the attack, raising doubts regarding the claim.
Addressing a press meet in Srinagar, DGP S P Vaid said on Sunday, “I don’t think ISIS has any imprint here.”
On Friday, a militant, Mugees Ahmad Mir, was killed in a shootout with police at Zakura. A policeman was also killed in the gunfight. Mir was wearing a black t-shirt with an Islamic State stamp on it. His body was later wrapped in a black flag at the funeral.
Of late, several militants’ bodies have been seen wrapped in black flags at funerals. While the black flag was popularised by the Islamic State, it has been used by several affiliates of al Qaeda in the past. Similar black flags have been hoisted at several protest rallies in the Valley.
Police sources had been saying that Mir is part of former Hizbul Mujahideen commander Zakir Musa’s group of militants. In the Valley, several photographs showing militants of the Musa group posing in front of a black flag have surfaced. There have been some unverified claims that Musa’s group is part of Ansar Ghazwatul Hind, an al-Qaeda affiliate.
IGP, Kashmir, Muneer Ahmad Khan said, “It is a subject matter of investigation. Because on one hand, they are claiming that he (Mir) was district commander of Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen, on the other, they are claiming (he was with) IS.”
Asked about the militant’s body wrapped in a black flag and his t-shirt with IS stamp, Khan said, “Throw a black flag on anybody and dub him as ISIS.” Asked if he is ruling out IS presence in Kashmir, he said: “I am ruling out”.
Khan added over phone: “These are claims which need to be verified. We are investigating the matter. This is also the third outfit which has claimed responsibility.”
The Tehreek-ul-Mujhadeen had claimed the Zakura attack. Zakir Musa, who was earlier associated with Hizbul Mujahideen and later set up the Ansar Gazwat-ul-Hind, too, had claimed credit for the attack.