In a statement late on Friday, Daesh said the “Wilayah of Hind”, literally translated as “province of India”, was now active in the volatile Kashmir, a region which has seen years of bloody violence between the majority Muslim population and the Indian troops.
The statement, released by Daesh’s Amaq News Agency, also claimed responsibility for clashes on Friday that led to casualties for Indian army in the town of Amshipora in the Shopian district of Kashmir. A Daesh militant, identified as Ishfaq Ahmad Sofi, was killed in the clashes, according to Indian officials.
Daesh's announcement on establishment of the new province comes nearly a month after the terrorist group, once active in regions in Iraq and Syria, carried out massive bombings at churches in Sri Lanka, which is located south of India. More than 250 were killed in those attacks which sparked global concerns about the spread of Takfiri ideology to areas outside the Middle East.
An Indian military official said on Saturday that Sofi had joined several militant groups in Kashmir before becoming a Daesh member.
Indian forces had been hunting him for his suspected involvement in several grenade attacks in the region.
Kashmir, India’s only Muslim-dominated state, has been gripped by decades of heavy-handed crackdown on a movement which seeks either independence or a merger with Pakistan.
India, which has more than half a million troops stationed in Kashmir, has repeatedly blamed Pakistan for militancy in the region. The two nuclear-armed neighbors both claim Kashmir in its entirety and have fought two wars over the Himalayan region.