Masked men waving the flags and banners of the dreaded Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Al-Qaeda appeared on the streets of Kashmir, indicating fresh troubles for the insurgency-hit state.
The debut of extreme hardline Islamic militant faction in Kashmir has further intensified tensions in the region, prompting the security forces step up vigil. .
According to DNA, masked men waved black flags and banners of the two terror groups in Srinagar. The flags displayed inscriptions of Kalima, the basic and fundamental preaching of Islam, on them. Some men reportedly even used the flags to cover their faces as others guarded the lanes and bylanes.
The apparent debut of ISIS in Jammu and Kashmir on the day of the Eid-al-fitr seems to have come in the aftermath of the Israel-Gaza conflict. The dreaded ISIS group has been running a bloody campaign of terror in northern Iraq and parts of Syria and has taken a large swathe of territory in the region to establish an ultra hardline Islamic state.
After the Eid prayers on Tuesday, people reportedly started shouting anti-Israel and pro-Palestine slogans protesting against the ongoing deadly Israeli assault on Gaza. Pro-Pakistan Hurriyat hawk, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, is reported to have called for a post-Namaz protest to agitate against attacks on Gaza, before people holding ISIS and Al-Qaeda flags appeared on the street.
Police and paramilitary forces were deployed quickly to maintain peace in the city. But angry youths, wearing masks, started pelting stones at the forces prompting the police to use fire smoke shells and lathi charge to disperse the dangerous mob.
"There was stone pelting for more than three hours. Around a dozen of police and CRPF men were injured in the stone-peling. We have registered a case of violence," DNA quoted Tahir Saleem, Superintendent of Police, North City, as saying.
The appearance of the two pan-Islamic jihadi organisations have surprised many as neither of the two groups have been understood to have a presence in Jammu and Kashmir. A good number of foreign militants – especially Pakistani extremists – work under the banner of Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Al Bader, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen among others.
Security forces have been forced to remain alert in the state ever since Al Qaeda released a video in June calling upon all Muslims in Kashmir to wage Jihad against Indian government.