Ruling out any major presence of the Islamic State (IS) in Jammu and Kashmir, police chief Dilbag Singh said on Wednesday that the real problem was that the youths were being radicalized on IS lines.

Addressing a press conference here, the Director General of Police (DGP) said: “Carrying IS flags and displaying them publicly to show that there is a very large presence of such elements has happened here in the past also.

“We again say that the IS presence is not that big, but the fact that people are being radicalized on those lines cannot be denied.

“Some elements are making serious efforts to radicalize a section of the youth to the extent possible.

“Kashmiri civil society has been an open society with a very secular kind of culture,” the officer said.

“Efforts to radicalize the society have been made at various levels and their expression has been seen in the kind of activities we saw the other day at Jamia Masjid.”

The DGP was referring to the appearance of masked youths displaying black flags on December 21 at the Jamia Masjid, with one mounting the pulpit with his shoes on.

The officer said the situation had by and large remained peaceful in 2018 and yet “some precious lives had been lost during” anti-militant operations.