The government on Monday sought to downplay Islamic State’s presence in Jammu and Kashmir but acknowledged the resurgence of a radical group in the Valley. There is no authoritative information about the presence of IS in Jammu and Kashmir, a senior home ministry official said.
The comment came in the wake of claims that IS was involved in an encounter with security forces in Srinagar wherein a terrorist, identified as Mugees, was killed and a sub-inspector, Imran Tak, lost his life. ‘Amaq’, which is the official news agency of IS, had claimed the responsibility for the attack.
Pictures of Mugees with the IS flag in the background surfaced on social media. Even his body was wrapped in the flag of the banned terror group during the funeral. However, the official said it had come to light that Mugees belonged to an extremist group called Tehrik-ul-Mujahideen and was its Pulwama district commander. The Tehrik-ul-Mujahideen was among the first few militant groups that emerged at the onset of terrorism in J&K in the early 1990s, the official said.
It follows the ideology of Salafism, which is ultra-radical like the IS. However, the police have found no logistical connection between the two, another official said. The cadre strength of the group is very small and it has been facing an extreme shortage of weapons.
Officials said the Tehrik-ul-Mujahideen was founded much before Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizbul Mujahideen came into existence. After the killing of Mujees, one Adil Ahmed has been appointed the group’s commander in Pulwama district.