Mohammad Taufeeq, 26, a south Indian from Telangana’s Hyderabad city who was killed along with two other local militants in Anantnag district earlier this week, was counselled on several occasions by the Telangana police, The Hindu reported today.
The two local militants were identified as Eesa Fazili of Srinagar and Syed Owais of Kokernag.
Taufeeq from Aswapuram in Bhadradri-Kothagudem district in Telangana went missing from the police radar about two-and-half-months ago, a senior Home Ministry official said.
It is the first such case, at least in a decade, of a non-Kashmiri being killed in a police encounter in Kashmir Valley, the official said. In 2008, two Keralites belonging to Lashkar-e-Toiba were killed in Kupwara district.
‘The Telangana police have a counter-radicalisation policy by which persons inclined towards radical ideology are counselled with the help of experts and family members. Such persons are kept under surveillance. The official said the J&K police are investigating how Taufeeq reached the Kashmir Valley,” the report said.
“We are investigating how he got in touch with the militants, whether it was through social media or some other medium,” J&K DGP S.P. Vaid said.
On March 14, a day after the three were killed in an encounter, Ansar Gazwat-ul-Hind released the first ever issue of Al-Nasr, describing them as “martyrs.”
“Responding to the call of martyrdom, Mohammad Taufeeq started his jihadi journey in 2017 after making hijrah from India’s Hyderabad city to the mountains of Kashmir and was among the first in the ranks of Ansar Ghazwatul Hind,” the social media post said. It also carried a picture of Taufeeq with Mohammad Rehan, the latter identified as deputy Ameer (head) of the Zakir Musa-led group.
Hours later, Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP), active in Afghanistan, released a statement that they were the soldiers of the IS, the report said.
“The three soldiers of IS fulfilled their promise of martyrdom in Kashmir. We are proud of these martyrs’ character because they in a region, where India and Pakistan are playing a murky game,” the IS message said.
Till last month, the report added, the J&K police claimed it was Fazili, who was pushing messages on media of the IS claiming two attacks in the Valley.
“Since both outfits are claiming the militants to be their members, there seems to be a competition between the two. It is not good for the Kashmir Valley. Whether it’s Al-Qaeda or transnational jihadi organisations, they have destroyed half of the world. It will not be good for Kashmir,” said Vaid.