Month after being allegedly assaulted, J&K youth joins IS affiliated organisation in valley

GR News Desk | Srinagar

Days after a Kashmiri youth’s mother appealed for his safe return, a video going viral on the internet purportedly shows Ehtisham Bilal being part of Islamic State-affiliated organisation in Jammu & Kashmir. A resident of Khanyar area in Srinagar, Ehtisham had been missing for over five days, when his mother appealed for a safe return talking to Ground Report from her home in Srinagar.

The video going viral on the internet shows a picture of Ehtisham being dressed in Islamic State fatigues and pledging allegiance to the Caliphate. The incident comes just a month after he was allegedly assaulted in the Sharda University where he was pursuing Bachelors in Medical Imaging Technology (BMIT). The video clip, however, is yet to be verified by the police.

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Police officials, however, believe that Ehtisham may have joined the militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen and might be present in the valley since October 28. The six-minute long video appeared on the internet on Friday evening along with a picture of the Ehtisham with a voice pledging to join the Islamic State Jammu & Kashmir (ISJK). Ehtisham is heard saying that he decided to join the organisation on the day he was assaulted in Sharda University.

Ehtisham’s mother had previously appealed him to return home while suspecting that he could take the extreme step and join the militancy in the state. She said that his son was assaulted in the University campus after which there was a change in him and had gone missing. The Indian Express on Saturday quoting a spokesperson from the Sharda University, who said that the administration was cooperating with the police in the investigation and that the last activity of Ehtisham in the campus was seen during the convocation.

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Ehtisham’s sister on Saturday appealed him to come back and leave militancy.

Jammu & Kashmir has been tense for over a year now with several cases of youth being lured to join militant outfits. However, Home Minister Rajnath Singh who recently visited the state expressed that there was a decrease in the numbers of youth joining the militancy from the valley.