Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani on Saturday said the chances of the Islamic State expanding to Kashmir are “almost zero”, hours after the militant group claimed that it had supporters in the Muslim state. Geelani claimed that the narrative linking Kashmir to terrorism is significant, claiming India is trying to defame the Kashmiri people’s struggle for self-determination and the government continues to forcibly occupy Kashmiri land. However, Geelani spoke against ISIS, saying they had plunged the Muslim world into war.

Elsewhere in New Delhi, Bharatiya Janata Party MP MJ Akbar said ISIS saw India as a country of infidels that was occupying Islamic space. Akbar was delivering 10th R N Kao Memorial Lecture in Delhi, to commemorate the man who started India’s Research and Analysis Wing. Akbar argued that ISIS was regressing to fundamentalism to make up for the vacuum left in places where “modernity has failed, or failed to reach”.

The militant group had made the controversial claims in its magazine Dabiq, saying rebels in Jammu and Kashmir had pledged allegiance to the group to “fight cow-worshipping Hindus”. The magazine report claimed that ISIS had made “specific arrangements in Kashmir” and that “Muslims will soon hear pleasant news of the Caliphate’s expansion to those lands”.