A young Kashmiri Army officer on leave was abducted and shot dead by militants in the south Kashmir district of Shopian where he had gone to attend a family wedding. Lieutenant Ummer Fayaz of 2 Raj Rif, from Sarsuna in Kulgam and commissioned in the Army last December, was attending the wedding of a cousin in Batpora Matribug in Shopian when he was abducted by militants Tuesday night. His bullet-riddled body was found near a bus stand in Harmain village Wednesday morning.
Officials said the autopsy report showed marks on his body, indicating that he had resisted the militants who abducted him. He was shot from close range. The Army promised action, assuring the officer’s family that the “perpetrators of the heinous crime and dastardly act will not be spared”.
Lt Gen Abhay Krishna, Colonel of the Rajputana Rifles and General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of South Western Command, said the killing “marks a watershed moment in Kashmir Valley and people of Kashmir will decisively turn the tide against terrorism”.
Defence Minister Arun Jaitley described the abduction and killing as “a dastardly act of cowardice”. In a tweet, Jaitley said, “This young officer from J&K was a role model… was an exceptional sportsman, his sacrifice reiterates nation’s commitment to eliminate terrorism from the Valley.”
Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi arrive in the Valley Thursday. Sources in the government told The Indian Express that the decision to send Mehrishi, who will be accompanied by senior Home Ministry functionaries, was taken at the “highest level”.
Mehrishi met Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and is expected to meet J&K Governor N N Vohra . He is also expected to hold a meeting of senior state officials and review the situation in view of rising incidents of militancy-linked violence. J&K DGP S P Vaid and senior officers of the Army and central paramilitary forces will also attend the meeting.
Reaching out to the family of the young officer, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, in a tweet, said: “The entire nation shares the grief of Fayaz’s family, friends and colleagues. My heartfelt condolences. His memory will never be forgotten. Those who tried to defeat what he stood for, will themselves be defeated.” Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, while condemning the killing, 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.”
Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah also condemned the incident, saying the situation was “very sad and alarming” which needed urgent attention from the Centre. Commissioned in the Rajputana Rifles last December, Fayaz was on his first leave. He was supposed to return to his unit in the Akhnoor area of Jammu on May 25.