Smriti Sen Gupta
Although Indian media are projecting the emergence of a third force in Jammu and Kashmir as “a militant outfit linked to Islamic State”, which recently has reportedly declared a war on pro-Pakistan Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba by vowing to eliminate what it called “dogs of Pakistan” – the fact is rather just the opposite.
According to Indian media, in Kashmir, a new battle has begun that is being fought in the courtyards of the people. But unlike in the early 90s, this time, the war will be televised.
The infighting between militant groups has left the entire Valley in shock. Every day, particularly in the restive southern Kashmir, militants are raiding each other’s locations, according to Telegram channels of the warring groups.
Indian media further said, quoting Islamic State’s Hind (Indian) Province (ISHP), “Our hands will feel no weakness in slaying these enemies of Islam. They have unleashed a reign of terror in last 30 years and by the will of God their end is nearing”.
It said, the ISHP statement added, referring to the militancy groups named Hizbul Mujahedin and Lashkar-e-Taiba.
The trigger for the first of its kind internal fighting between Kashmiri militants was the killing of a local militant, Adil Dass, who was earlier affiliated with the LeT and had switched over to the IS-affiliated group.
He was lured, according to police, by the opposite group and told to lead the prayers somewhere in Sirhama village of Bijbehera in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district.
Militants of one group asked him to lead the prayers, said an IS militant in a video, “When he finished the prayer they fired a volley of bullets on him. We will not leave these murtadas (apostates).”
The militants of pro-IS groups consider 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”.
In a statement that surfaced on social networking sites linked to the IS, the group — Islamic State (Province in India) — called Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar militants a group of apostates and blamed them for drawing the “first blood” in Kashmir.
Commenting on these reports, counter-militancy experts said, it is strange that Islamic State affiliated group is talking against Pakistan-sponsored Hizbul Mujahedin and Lashkar-e-Taiba, though it is a proven fact that ISIS has connections with Pakistani spy agency Inter Service Intelligence through ISIS-K.