ISIS Has No Ground In JK: MHA

11 December 2015
Rising Kashmir
Sumaiya Yousuf

Srinagar: The dreaded militant group Islamic State has no ground in Jammu and Kashmir and waving of militant group's black flags on Fridays does not mean there is presence of ISIS in the State, a top official of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs told Rising Kashmir. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the MHA official said there is a fringe element comprising a group of minor boys, who wave ISIS flags on Fridays but without zero knowledge about the militant group. 'It is a fact that those who wave ISIS flags are Kashmiris but one has to dig a little deeper and see things with hawk's eye. There is a very small fringe element and those who raise ISIS flags are just 15 to 17 year old kids who even don't know what ISIS is,' he said. The official said 8 to 10 boys in the age group of 15 to 17 were arrested in the Valley for waving ISIS flags. 'After questioning them, security agencies have come to know that the boys had zero influence of ISIS and some of them even didn't know what ISIS is,' he said adding within five minutes of their arrest and questioning, 'we came to know that they are not influenced by ISIS'. The MHA official said it seems they are more concerned about the script written on the flag and not about the name. 'They even don't have any ideology or influence of ISIS on them. These kids are being counseled and those who don't understand by counseling are being prosecuted'. Official sources said there is no presence of ISIS in J&K. 'At the grassroot level, ISIS doesn't have any leader, commander or men in the State. Only few people are downloading pictures from the internet and displaying it'. They said a hardcore supporter of ISIS would never come openly and get photographed etc. 'After the investigation of the cases, it has come to fore that they (boys) just want to get highlighted in media and to impress their girlfriends. They take it as glamour to appear on TV or a newspaper. Why would an ISIS professional show his face knowing that he would get arrested within no time'. Praising the role of parents in helping security agencies in counseling of their wards, the officials said parents of the boys have played an important role in getting a number of young boys out of this situation. 'We are in contact with their families and they are the actually the best counselors. In rare cases if these kids don't want to change then they will be prosecuted,' official sources said. Asked about apprehensions that ISIS may join militant groups in Kashmir, the MHA official some people wave ISIS flags and say ISIS is there. 'Although 66% people voted in election but no one is competent enough to say that people want government, elections and not just boycotts, protests etc.' 'The point is that people of Kashmir have the way of thinking and that is what represents the ground reality of Kashmir. It is not what appears in Friday meetings. The point is Europe has more influence compared to India and India has a fraction of Muslims. Altogether 10 people from India have joined ISIS because of family repercussions but none among them is from Kashmir,' he said. Asked whether religious groups or those people who are more inclined toward religion are influenced by ISIS, the officials said people of Kashmir are not sympathetic toward ISIS. 'There are different Muslim communities in J&K - Sunnis, Jamati's, Shias, etc. If we evaluate this on religious level, we can get a clear answer that no one has any sympathy with ISIS in Kashmir. At the political level, no one who would support the militant group. Even senior separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani condemned Paris attacks and violence unleashed by ISIS.' They, however, said it is impossible to completely rule out presence or influence of ISIS in the state. 'We are on the job and whatever we have got so far indicates there is no ISIS in Jammu and Kashmir,' they added.