Young Kashmiri Army officer killed by militants

Srinagar: Militants abducted and killed a 22-year-old Kashmiri Army officer when he had gone to attend a family wedding in Shopian district, officials said on Wednesday. Defence Minister Arun Jaitley has called it an act of cowardice and the Army has vowed to bring those responsible to justice.

The bullet-riddled body of Lieutenant Ummer Faiyaz, who was posted with the Rajputana Rifles unit in Aknoor, was found in south Kashmir’s Shopian on Wednesday.

Faiyaz was on leave and visiting his native place in Kulgam to attend a marriage in his family. He was kidnapped by militants late on Tuesday evening from Kulgam town, an official said.

Faiyaz had passed out from National Defence Academy, and was to go for the Young Officers’ Course in September this year. He was also a hockey and volleyball player.

He was commissioned in the Army in December 2016.

“In a dastardly act some unidentified terrorists on Tuesday abducted and then killed a young, unarmed army officer, Ummer Faiyaz,” Defence Ministry spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia said.

Jaitley said the government shared the grief of the family, adding that Faiyaz will continue to inspire youth in the valley.

“Abduction and murder of Lieutenant Ummer Faiyaz by terrorists in Shopian is a dastardly act of cowardice. This young officer from Jammu and Kashmir was a role model,” Jaitley said in a tweet.

Jaitley said the officer was an “exceptional sportsman, his sacrifice reiterates nation’s commitment to eliminate terrorism from the Valley.”

“We share the grief of family of Lt. Ummer Faiyaz and stand in solidarity. Lt. Ummer Faiyaz will continue to inspire youth from the Valley,” the Minister added.

Colonel of the Rajputana Rifles, and General Officer Commanding in Chief of the South Western Command Lt. Gen. Abhay Krishna said the perpetrators will not be spared.

In his condolence message, Krishna said the Army fraternity stood by the family and added: “I also assure the family that perpetrators of this heinous crime and dastardly act will not be spared.”

“This marks a watershed moment in Kashmir valley, and people of Kashmir will decisively turn the tide against terrorism,” he said.

Faiyaz had gone to attend the marriage of his maternal uncle’s daughter at Batapura. He was abducted from there around 10 p.m. This bullet riddled body was found at Harmen, an Army source said.

The body has been sent for post-mortem at District Hospital in Shopian, and will be buried with full military honours.

An advisory was earlier issued by the state police asking its personnel not to visit ancestral homes, especially in south Kashmir areas till it was withdrawn.

There has been a spike in militant activity in most districts of south Kashmir including Pulwama, Shopian, Anantnag and Kulgam.

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