The Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) has established a presence in Kashmir, New Delhi, while Islamabad warns that people in the region are facing a serious “threat” from its rival India.
In recent months, there have been constant clashes between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan along their mutual border in Kashmir known as the Line of Control (LoC).
The Indian army reportedly retaliated to an attack by the Pakistani military that killed a nine-year-old girl and wounded three others in Indian-held Kashmir, reports Firstpost.
India Today notes, “The black flag of ISIS is new on the scene of Kashmir Valley replacing the green flag of Pakistan. This is the new worrying trend in the Valley for the security forces.”
Both Pakistan and India have consistently accused one another of violating the 2003 ceasefire.
“Pakistan has banned tourists from a valley in Pakistani-controlled part of Kashmir a day after it said four of its soldiers drowned after their vehicle was hit by Indian gunfire and plunged into the Neelum River,” reports the Associated Press (AP).
AP quotes Choudhary Mohammad Fareed, a top Islamabad official in Pakistan-held Kashmir, as saying individuals in the region, namely tourists, are facing a severe Islamic extremist “threat” at the time.
China, its ally Pakistan, and their rival India all have competing claims to the Muslim-majority Himalayan region of Kashmir.
On Sunday, hundreds of mourners reportedly gathered at the funeral of Mukhtar Lone, a member of the Pakistan-affiliated terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM) whose body had been wrapped in ISIS’s black flag.
Young people in Kashmir appear to have aligned themselves with ISIS, displaying the black ISIS flag at the funeral, notes India Today, adding, “The Islamic State arrived in Kashmir Valley with Zakir Musa propagating establishment of caliphate. In a series of audio-video messages, Musa advocated that his fight in Kashmir was to establish caliphate.”
India has long accused Pakistan of backing Islamic terrorists in Kashmir.
“The green turning black” in New Delhi-controlled Kashmir “has created flutter in the valley, notes India Today, suggesting that terrorists in the area are switching their allegiance from Pakistan to ISIS.
“Similar black shrouds were seen at the funerals of slain militants in recent weeks,” it adds. “Sajjad Gilkar from Nowahatta, who was killed earlier this month in Redbug area of central Kashmir, had his body wrapped in the flag of the Islamic State terror group. Hundreds of supporters had joined his funeral in Srinagar.”
In February, India military and police officers warned that ISIS had arrived in Kashmir.
ISIS declared that it is committed to “expanding” to Kashmir in an edition of its propaganda magazine Dabiq published early last year.