STATE TIMES NEWS
SRINAGAR: A young Kashmiri army officer on leave was abducted and shot dead by militants in Shopian district where he had gone to attend a wedding function, triggering anger among the locals who demanded action against the killers.
Lieutenant Ummer Fayaz, 22, who hailed from Sursona village in Kulgam district, had gone to attend the wedding of the daughter of his maternal uncle at Batapura, about 74 kms from here, from where he was abducted by the militants at around 10 PM on Tuesday night, officials said.
The family members did not inform the police or the army about the abduction of the unarmed officer as the militants had threatened them against doing so.
His bullet-riddled body was found this morning in Harmen area, about three kms from his house, the officials said.
The autopsy report showed marks on his body, indicating that he had resisted the militants who abducted him, the officials said.
He was fired at from a close range, and the bullets had hit his head and stomach or chest region.
Locals said two masked men entered the house and asked Fayaz, who was unarmed, to accompany them.
The Army vowed to punish the killers of young Lieutenant Ummer Fayaz while Defence Minister Arun Jaitley called the attack a dastardly act of cowardice by the militants.
“I assure the family that the perpetrators of this heinous crime and dastardly act will not be spared,” Lt Gen Abhay Krishna, General Officer Commanding-in Chief of South Western Command and Colonel of Rajputana Riffles, said.
Fayaz was with Rajputana Rifles. He was commissioned into the Army on December 10 last year and according to his colleagues, he was popular for his simplicity and honesty.
Born on June 8, 1994, Fayaz had studied at Navodaya Vidyalaya, a branch of government schools for gifted students, at Ashmuquam in South Kashmir. He belonged to the 129th batch of cadets from the prestigious Pune-based National Defence Academy.
Expressing anguish over the killing of the young officer Jaitley said Fayaz’s sacrifice reiterates the nation’s commitment to eliminate terrorism from the Valley and that he would continue to inspire youth from Kashmir.
“Abduction & murder of Lt. Ummer Fayaz by terrorists in Shopian is a dastardly act of cowardice. This young officer from J&K was a role model,” Jaitley said in a tweet.
“Fayaz was an exceptional sportsman, his sacrifice reiterates nation’s commitment to eliminate terrorism from the Valley.”
Lt Gen Krishna said people of Kashmir will have to rise collectively and hit back at the “cowards and perpetrators” of the heinous crime, adding they can no longer tolerate such tragic losses of their “beloved sons”.
“This marks a watershed moment in Kashmir Valley and people of Kashmir will decisively turn the tide against terrorism,” he said, conveying to family of Fayaz that the Army stands shoulder-to-shoulder with it.
Major General B S Raju, the General Officer in Command of the Victor Force, responsible for counter-terrorism in South Kashmir, has directed all its units in and around the area to launch a manhunt for the killers.
It was for the first time that he had taken leave after joining the Army, a senior official said. He was supposed to have returned to his unit in the Akhnoor area of Jammu on May 25.
The killing caused anger among locals who demanded that the men responsible be identified and punished.
Army officers posted with Rajputana Riffles said Fayaz was loved by his colleagues and he was known for immaculately performing alloted tasks
His father, a farmer, has a small time apple business.
Fayaz was part of the hockey team of NDA and he was also an excellent volleyball player.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today condemned the killing of Lieutenant Umer Fayaz. “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,” Mufti said in a statement.
The chief minister conveyed her heartfelt sympathies to the bereaved family of Lt Fayaz and prayed for his eternal solace.
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi also condemned the killing and said those who tried to defeat what slain army officer Ummer Fayaz stood for, would be themselves defeated.
“The entire nation shares the grief of Fayaz’s family, friends and colleagues. My heartfelt condolences,” he said.
“His memory will never be forgotten. Those who tried to defeat what he stood for, will themselves be defeated,” Gandhi said on Twitter.
Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah also condemned the incident and said the situation was “very sad and alarming” which needed an urgent attention from the Centre.
BJP strongly condemned the barbaric killing of a young Army officer by militants.
“We strongly condemn the heinous and barbaric act committed by the terrorists last night in Shopian, where a young Indian Army officer attending a wedding in his village during leave was kidnapped by the terrorists and brutally murdered”, Brig Anil Gupta, State Spokesperson of BJP, said. He said that this barbaric act is the manifestation of an extremist ideology on the Kashmiris by Pak-sponsored terrorists.
“Killing of a fellow Kashmiri Sunni Muslim is against all tenets of Islam,” said Brig Gupta.
The world has already witnessed the barbarism of the ISIS cadre in Syria, Iraq and in Kurdish territories, he said.
Instead of succumbing to the diktats of jihadi terrorists, they need to fight them, he said.
The time has come for the majority peace loving Kashmiris to unite and rise against the menace of terrorism, said Gupta.
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