Separatists to counter IS supporters

Condemn attempt to unfurl IS flag at Srinagar’s Jamia Masjid, calling it a ploy against the entire leadership

Separatists under the umbrella Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) plan to confront Islamic State (IS) supporters on Friday by holding a protest against the unfurling of an IS flag at the pulpit of the Jamia Masjid here last week. All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the Valley’s head priest whose family traditionally delivers a sermon from the pulpit every Friday, on Monday registered a protest against the move “to usurp” the politically significant pulpit. He met JRL leaders Syed Ali Geelani and Yasin Malik to rally their support against the act. During the meeting of the Awami Action Committee, chaired by the Mirwaiz, the attempt by the alleged IS supporters was termed as a “violation of the pulpit by a bunch of goons”. The Mirwaiz, sources said, described the act as “a ploy” against the entire separatist leadership. He is reported to have asserted at the meeting that the pulpit represented the religious identity, social and political aspirations of the people of Kashmir for the past many decades and that it would continue to do so, no matter how many conspiracies were hatched by “miscreants backed by security agencies”.

Joint protest

The Mirwaiz, who will chair another meeting on Wednesday, called for a joint protest on January 4, and described the coming Friday asYoum-e-Taqadus(Day of Consecration). Supporting the Mirwaiz, Hurriyat faction chairman Mr. Geelani and JKLF chief Mr. Malik said, “These mischievous actions cannot be tolerated and people should be cautious and conscious about such disrespectful events.” All three plan to offer prayers together.

The Jamaat-e-Islami and traders’ bodies, including the Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA), condemned the masked men’s bid to unfurl the IS flag at the pulpit.

“The mosque is our pride,” said KEA chairman Yasin Khan. “The desecration wouldn’t be tolerated. There’s a need to come up with a collective strategy to foil such nefarious designs,” he added.
According to the police, it had killed at least 10 IS recruits, who switched sides from the Hizbul Mujahideen or the Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen in 2018.

“The IS ranks are negligible and its limited influence was confined to urban pockets, especially Srinagar and Pulwama,” said a senior police officer, speaking on condition of anonymity. “It did influence educated and Internet-hooked youth like Esa Fazili through online literature and videos,” he added.

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