India: Graffiti Announces Arrival of Islamic State in Kashmir

Military and police officers in a northern Indian state that borders the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir have been placed on alert following the appearance of graffiti and posters announcing the arrival of the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) to the area.

The writings, which have been found across the Solan district of the Indian state Himachal Pradesh, also warned that ISIS would be triggering bombs in several places, an allegation that has sparked panic among the population.

According to the Press Trust of India (PTI), police indicated it was investigating the messages.

“It seems to be some mischief, but we are not taking it lightly and probing thoroughly to identify the accused,” said an unnamed senior police official.

The writings are reportedly in Hindi and English. One of the messages announces a “fatwa,” or religious decree issued by ISIS, while another threatens “bomb blasts from Himachal Pradesh to Nepal using washing machines and television sets,” adds PTI.

The New Indian Express reports:

A couple of flags with the slogan ‘ISIS zindabad’ (long live Islamic State’) were planted as well…A case of sedition has been registered…against the unknown persons…The deputy commissioner of Solan, Rakesh Kanwar said joint surveillance would be undertaken by the Army and civilian authorities to prevent recurrence of such graffiti.

On an edition of its propaganda magazine Dabiq published early last year, ISIS declared that it is committed to “expanding” to Kashmir.

India, Pakistan, and China all have competing claims to the Muslim-majority region.

ISIS is determined to expand “to Kashmir to fight the cow-worshipping Hindus and the apostates from factions allied to the idol-worshippers of Pakistan” as well as the “atheist Chinese,” warns Dabiq.

In a propaganda video, also released in 2016, ISIS declares,“We will return [to India], but with a sword in hand, to avenge… the killings of Muslims in Kashmir…”

The jihadist group has already established an Afghanistan-based branch dubbed the Khorasan province, which is named after a region that covers parts of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, India, and other neighboring countries.

In 2016, various ISIS-linked threats and attacks took place in India.