Islamic State (ISIS) has already established a strong foothold in India, spanning from West Bengal to Jammu and Kashmir. In Bengal, name of the ISIS franchise is ISIS-B (Islamic State of Bengal), which partners with Hizbul Mujahedin and Jamaatul Mujahedin Bangladesh (JMB); while in Jammu and Kashmir, there are several pro-ISIS jihadist outfits such as Islamic State Hind Province (ISHP) and Islamic State Jammu and Kashmir (ISJK).
According to a credible intelligence source, there also are at least two jihadist groups in Jammu and Kashmir, which are discreetly funded and patronized by the Indian authorities and its security agencies. One such group considers the Hurriyat leadership, including Syed Ali Shah Geelani as an apostate and so is Syed Salahuddin, the head of United Jihad Council based in Pakistan. They call Reyaz Naikoo, the chief of Hizbul Mujahideen in Kashmir Valley, Reyaz Nalaikoo, (Reyaz Useless). Even Zakir Musa, the man who floated pro-IS ideology in Kashmir, is a good man for them, but a “fool”.
Over 100 militants, including 23 foreigners, have been killed in Kashmir in the first five months of 2019, but despite that, the ISJK, which had once less than four members, has risen to close to dozen.
A small Kashmiri group of militants also pledged allegiance to the global outfit in a video that had members saying they are pleading allegiance to Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the chief of the global outfit.
“We have succeeded in establishing jihad on the basis of Tawheed (oneness of Allah) and have destroyed the basis of infidel ideas of nationalism, democracy and self-determination as we have waged a war against them.
Our fight is not for the Kashmir cause, but it is a war of faith. We have pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi,” the group of militants said in a recently issued video statement.
In another statement, the group blamed Hizbul Mujahedin for repeating the events of the early 90s when internal fighting between various militant outfits led to the killing of several militants affiliated with J&K Liberation Front or Al Jehad.
“Hizbul Murtadeen (party of apostates – referring to Hizb) did what it does best, backstab the Ummah and Mujahideen,” the statement said, referring to the killing of Adil.
The group has also blamed the Hizbul Mujahideen for leaking information about Qayoom Najar, a top militant from Sopore known for his pan-Islamist views, which led to his death at the hands of security forces some years back.
“This is the defining chapter of the new age militancy in Kashmir,” said a senior intelligence officer based in southern Kashmir. “Everyone in the security grid is watching the battle closely”.
Counter-militancy experts, commenting on state-patronized jihadist outfits in India said, such policies not only are counterproductive but at the same time it is suicidal. By breeding jihadist forces, Indian policymakers actually are paving the path of the emergence of a huge jihadist conglomerate in the near future.