New Delhi, Feb 27: The Centre Tuesday sought to downplay the issue of presence of dreaded terror group IS in Jammu and Kashmir saying it has no existence in the Valley.
“There is no physical infrastructure or manpower of the IS in the Valley. It does not exist in the Valley,” a Home Ministry spokesperson said here.
The central government’s assertion came after the group claimed responsibility for the killing of a policeman, Farooq Ahmad Yatoo, in Jammu-Kashmir on Sunday.
Another official said Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba could be behind the attack on the policeman, and Esha Fazali, a local militant who first joined the Hizbul Mujahideen and later shifted his allegiance to LeT, has emerged as the prime suspect.
In November 2017, there were reports that the global terror organisation was involved in an encounter with security forces in Srinagar where a militant, identified as Mugees, was killed and a sub-inspector, Imran Tak, lost his life.
Amaq, which is the official news agency of ISIS, had claimed responsibility for that attack.
Pictures of Mugees with the ISIS flag in the background surfaced on social media. Even his body was wrapped in the flag of the banned group during funeral.
However, security officials had then claimed that Mugees belonged to an militant group called Tehreek-ul- Mujahideen and was its Pulwama district commander.
The Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen was among the first few militant groups that emerged at the onset of militancy in Jammu and Kashmir in the early 1990s.
However, police have found no logistical connection between the two, another official said.
The cadre strength of the group is very small and it has been facing an extreme shortage of weapons, officials said.
The Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen was founded much before the Pakistan-based group Lashkar-e-Toiba and Hizbul Mujahideen came into existence, they said.
After the killing of Mujees, Adil Ahmed has been appointed the group’s commander in Pulwama district.