SRINAGAR: Barely five months after joining service, 22-year-old Lieutenant Ummer Faiyaz was abducted and killed by militants in the volatile Shopian district of South Kashmir on Tuesday. “It was dastardly act,” Colonel Rajesh Kalia, defence spokesman in Srinagar, said.
Lt Faiyaz, who joined the Army in December 2016 was posted with 2 Rajputana Rifles in Akhnoor. He had come on leave to his native Kulgam district in South Kashmir. On Tuesday, Faiyaz had gone to Shopian district to attend his cousin’s wedding.
The unarmed officer was abducted from there by militants. His bullet-ridden body was recovered on Wednesday morning. “He was abducted by three to four armed militants from his relative’s house at Batapora village in Shopian at about 10pm on Tuesday. His body was recovered from Hermain Chowk of Shopian this morning,” Army sources said. Militants had fired at least five rounds on him at point-blank range.
Lt Faiyaz was buried with full military honours in Kulgam district and the funeral was attended by hundreds of people. An alleged misfire from the rifle of a policeman at the funeral led to stone pelting in the area. However, normalcy was restored.
A police investigation has been launched into the officer’s murder. “We will investigate how militants found out the Army officer was at his relative’s residence. Someone could have leaked the information,” police said.
The killing of the officer signals an increasing trend of security forces being targeted. Last week, six policemen were killed by militants across south Kashmir, forcing security agencies to launch a massive combing operation. In fact, the State police department has directed its officers not to visit their homes in south Kashmir for the next three months.
“The killing marks a watershed moment in the Kashmir Valley,” said Lt Gen Abhay Krishna, Colonel of Rajputana Rifles. “The people of Kashmir will decisively turn the tide against terrorism.”
Infiltration bid foiled along LoC
The Army has foiled an infiltration bid by militants along the Line of Control in Baramulla district of Kashmir, an official said. There were no casualties in the incident and the militants were forced to retreat to PoK.
Mehbooba condemns killing
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti has condemned the killing. She said what was more painful to note is that the young officer had come home on vacation where he was attending the marriage of his cousin.