The Ansar Ghazwatul Hind (AGUH) – an outfit with alleged link to the al-Qaeda in Kashmir said the slain militant was Muhammad Taufeeq from Hyderabad.
Police and intelligence agencies are probing an al-Qaeda linked group’s claim that a militant killed in an encounter with security forces in South Kashmir hailed from Hyderabad, officials said on Wednesday.
If confirmed, it would only be the second time since 2008, when two suspected Lashkar-e-Taiba members were gunned down in the v alley, that militants from another Indian state have been killed in Kashmir.
The militant was among three shot dead by security forces on Monday in the Hakoora area of Anantnag district. Two of them were identified as Eisa Fazili and Syed Owais Shafi; the third was not named.
Police have not said anything about the identity of the third militant but on Tuesday the Ansar Ghazwatul Hind – a group with alleged links to the al-Qaeda in Kashmir — said the slain militant was Muhammad Taufeeq from Hyderabad. The al-Qaeda’s Kashmir unit is led by wanted militant leader Zakir Musa.
A police spokesperson said the department are investigating the matter and trying to ascertain the identity of the slain militant. An Intelligence Bureau officer also confirmed that the IB is probing the claim made by the militant group.
According to a senior police official in Hyderabad, the state’s special branch has been tipped off about the claim.
“We are making inquiries, but so far there has been no clue about his identity,” the officer said on condition of anonymity.
According to an AGUH pamphlet available online , Taufeeq became a militant in 2017 after coming to Kashmir from Hyderabad.
“Responding to the call of shariat or shahadat (martyrdom), Mohammad Taufeeq started his jihadi journey in 2017 after making hijrah (migration) from India’s Hyderabad city to the mountains of Kashmir and was among the first in the ranks of Ansar Ghazwatul Hind,” the pamphlet said.
The group added that Taufeeq’s “jihadi names were Sultan Zabul Al Hind and Abu Zarr Al Hindi”.
The body of the militant, which was not claimed by anyone, was buried in a graveyard for foreign militants in the Gantmulla area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district on Tuesday night. A police officer handling the case said the militant’s DNA has been preserved to help in the identification process.
Police refused to say anything on AGUF although security officials say militants from different groups work in tandem in south Kashmir.
In an earlier statement, another militant group, the Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen (TeM), identified the third militant as Sabzar Ahmad Sofi. In a statement to a local news agency, TeM said Fazili was its district commander and added that Syed Owais Shafi belonged to the Hizbul Mujahideen.
Counter-insurgency expert Ajai Sahni said people from other parts of India joining militancy in Kashmir are “aberrations” and not frequent occurrences.
“The development is worth examining but it definitely is not a pattern. In three decades of Kashmir insurgency, the number of occasions where youth from Indian cities joined Kashmir jihad is almost negligible,” Sahni said.