Islamic State inspires caliphate campaign in Kashmir
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Kashmiri militants are shifting their ideology from nationalism to extreme Islamism
Students waive Islamic State flags in Srinagar on April 17 as hundreds of them took to streets to protest a police raid in a college in southern Pulwama town which injured some 50 students two days earlier. (Photo by Umer Asif)
Militants in Jammu and Kashmir state have asked their supporters to fight to establish a caliphate instead of mere independence from India, mirroring the philosophy of the so-called Islamic State (IS).
Hundreds of college students waved IS flags while protesting a police raid on a college in southern Pulwama town on April 15 that injured at least 50 students. Increasing numbers of students and young people in the region have been throwing stones at police and creating road blocks to help militant groups, according to local media reports.
Until now, separatists have been fighting Indian security forces on a political basis, demanding Kashmir merge with Pakistan or for it to become an independent country. However, on April 8, some militants addressed a procession in south Kashmir and shouted "Shariyat ya Shahadat" (Islamic rule or martyrdom).
They also rejected the waving of Pakistani flags and justified the Taliban's war against the neighboring country. "This war is for Shariyat [Islamic rule] or Shahadat [martyrdom]. The Pakistani flag is not part of Shariyat … Why do you wave the Pakistani flag? Anyone who waves the flag will be our enemy," said a militant in a video taken April 7. The video later went viral on social media sites.
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