ISIS and Al Qaeda flags displayed in Kashmir

Security forces fighting militancy have a new worry at hand after the flags and banners of dreaded Islamic State for Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and Al Qaeda made their debut in the terror plagued Kashmir.

What happened?
Masked men surfaced after the Eid-ul-Fitr prayers at Eidgah in sensitive old city and waved black flags and banners of ISIS and Al Qaeda with Kalima (the first basic fundamental of Islam) inscribed on them. Some men even used the flags as masks to hide their faces even as other men watched from the lanes and bylanes.

What was the occasion?
After the Eid prayers were over, people started shouting anti-Israel and Pro-Palestine slogans to protest the Israeli aggression on Gaza. The call for 30 minute post-namaz protests was given by pro-Pakistan Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani to agitate against attacks on Gaza.

How did the security forces react?
A huge posse of police and paramilitary forces were deployed to maintain order in the city. The youth, most of them wearing masks, pelted stones on the force deployments prompting the men in uniform to use lathi charge and fire smoke shells to disperse the mob.

Was there any casualty?
Around a dozen police and paramilitary men were injured in the stone pelting. “There was stone pelting for more than three hours. Around a dozen of police and CRPF men were injured in the stone-pelting. We have registered a case of violence,” said Tahir Saleem, Superintendent of Police, North city.

Is there any presence of ISIS or Al Qaeda in Kashmir?
Neither of the two pan-Islamic Jihadi organizations have presence in Jammu and Kashmir. Though there is large number of foreign militants mostly Pakistani operating in Kashmir, they work under the banner of Lashkar-e-Tioba, Jaish-e-Mohommad, Al Bader, Hizb-ul-Mujhadeen and others.
Security forces were however rattled when Al Qaeda released a video in June calling upon the Muslims in Kashmir to wage Jihad against Indian authorities. Entitled ‘War should continue, message to the Muslims of Kashmir’, the video features the statement of Al Qaeda commander Moulana Asim Umar threatening that the caravan (of heroic martyrs) was coming to “liberate Kashmir”.

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