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ISIS Shrouds at Militants' Funerals the Latest Worry for J&K Authorities

According to a police officer, the 'growing radicalisation could be a reason for the change of colour of the flags used in funerals'.

Mufti Islah | CNN-News18

Updated:July 17, 2017, 9:52 AM IST
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ISIS Shrouds at Militants' Funerals the Latest Worry for J&K Authorities
In the last three days, the bodies of two militants from Hizbul Mujahideen and Jaish-e-Mohammad have been draped in black ISIS flags during their funeral rites.
Srinagar: The massive number of supporters gathering at funerals of slain militants is not the only cause for worry for Jammu and Kashmir authorities. The latest concern is over the shroud in which the militants’ bodies are draped, especially its colour and the text on it.


In the last three days, the bodies of two militants from Hizbul Mujahideen and Jaish-e-Mohammad have been draped in black shrouds bearing the insignia of the Islamic State or ISIS rather than the Pakistani flag which is normally used by these outfits.

The body of slain militant Mukhtar Ahmad Lone alias Bite Moulvi was draped in an ISIS flag in Tral on Sunday while being taken for Namaz-e-Janaza, the last rites. Hundreds of supporters joined the funeral procession.

Lone was one of the three militants killed on Saturday in an encounter with security forces near their hideout in Satoora hills of Tral in Pulwama district. Like the current crop of militants, he had joined militant ranks a month ago.

The Army and police had traced him and his associates to a cave which served as their shelter and ammo dump. The security forces said it was a successful operation since they did not suffer any casualty.

The operation led to another revelation — the militants were from Jaish-e-Mohammad which seems to be making a comeback to the Valley from the southern hinterland.

The colour and text on the shroud was another cause for worry as it was the second such funeral of a militant where these had been used.

On Friday, the body of Sajjad Gilkar, a militant belonging to Hizbul Mujahideen, was also wrapped in a black ISIS flag in downtown Srinagar, an area known for its pro-Pakistani posture.

It was a departure of sorts from the earlier funerals of militants killed in encounters or civilians killed in cross-fire where Pakistani flags were used as shrouds. It was not clear who draped Gilkar's body in the black cloth as his family maintained they had not planned the funeral to be done this way.

“We don't know who covered him in the black cloth…. He was being led for the funeral prayers by thousands,” local media reports quoted a family member as saying.

A police officer told CNN-News18 on condition of anonymity that “growing radicalisation could be a reason for the change of colour of the flags used in funerals”.

It is believed that since popular commander Zakir Musa moved away from the Hizbul Mujahideen to float a yet-unknown outfit, the young crop of militants have started to gravitate towards him.

Musa had, in a series of audio messages released to the media, said that his fight is not limited to win “azadi for Kashmiris” but to wage a “larger battle for Islam and Caliphate”.
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