Lt Ummer Fayaz, whose body was found with two bullets marks in Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday morning, would have turned 23 on June 8.
Hailing from Kulgam in south Kashmir, the young officer was in Shopian for his cousin’s wedding. He was abducted by militants at around 10pm on Tuesday, army sources said.
Police, too, said Fayaz could have been taken away by militants but the family did not inform the authorities. “They must have thought he would be released,” they said.
Posted in Jammu and Kashmir’s Akhnoor sector, the officer trained at the National Defence Academy near Pune and the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun before being commissioned on December 10, 2016.
Fayaz was part of the hockey team at the defence academy and also enjoyed volleyball.
Physically tough, Fayaz, posted in the border state’s Akhnoor sector, was popular among troops. He was likely to go to Mhow in September to attend a course for young officers.
His father is an apple farmer.
His body has been taken to hospital in Shopian for a post-mortem and will be later taken to his village for burial with military honours.
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— Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley)May 10, 2017
Lt. Ummer Fayaz of 2RAJRIF was an exceptional sportsman, his sacrifice reiterates nation’s commitment to eliminate terrorism from the Valley— Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley)May 10, 2017
We share the grief of family of Lt. Ummer Fayaz & stand in solidarity. Lt. Ummer Fayaz will continue to inspire youth from the Valley.— Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley)May 10, 2017
Calling it a “dastardly act”, the Indian Army, in a statement said it “salutes the braveheart and stands by the bereaved family in this hour of tragedy”.
Army sources said the killing was to intimidate people and discourage young people from joining the army and other security forces.
The incident comes amid increasing tensions in the Valley between civilians and security forces following a series of videos that allegedly showed human rights excesses by security forces.
About a week ago, a rogue Pakistani army team killed and beheaded two security personnel, triggering outrage across the country and prompting the government to vow a strong response.