When a wedding turned into a funeral procession in Kashmir – The story of Army officer Umer Fayaz killed by terrorists

Lieutenant Umer Fayaz, who hailed from the troubled region of Kulgam district, was posted with 2 Rajputana Rifles and had applied for leave to attend a cousin's wedding.

By Zee Media Bureau | Last Updated: May 11, 2017, 00:21 AM IST
When a wedding turned into a funeral procession in Kashmir – The story of Army officer  Umer Fayaz killed by terrorists

Srinagar: It was the first time that 23-year-old Lieutenant Umer Fayaz took leave after joining the Army in December 2016. Who knew it would eventually become his last?

The bullet-riddled body of Lieutenant Fayaz was found in Shopian district of south Kashmir today after he was abducted by militants on Tuesday night.

The officer had gone to attend a family wedding in Shopian district. However, a strange turn of events made the gathering participate in Fayaz's funeral procession today.

Defence Minister Arun Jaitley has called it an act of cowardice and the Army has vowed to bring those responsible to justice.

Lieutenant Umer Fayaz, who hailed from the troubled region of Kulgam district, was posted with 2 Rajputana Rifles and had applied for leave to attend a cousin's wedding.

This was the first time he took 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.

He was picked up from his house at Harmein in Kulgam, 60 kilometres from here, last night. The body of the young officer was later found three kilometres from his house.

Fayaz, who studied at Navodaya Vidyalaya, a branch of government schools for gifted students, at Ashmuquam in South Kashmir, joined the Army after being commissioned in December last year. He belonged to the 129th batch of cadets from the prestigious Pune-based National Defence Academy. He was also a hockey and volleyball player.

The autopsy report showed marks on his body, indicating that he had resisted the suspected militants who had abducted him.

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 at 8 last night. The men asked Lt Fayaz, who was unarmed, to accompany them, and warned the family not to inform the police.

The killing caused anger among locals who demanded that the men responsible be identified and punished.

Major General BS 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.

The body of the officer was laid to rest with full military honours. His funeral was attended by several people from his village. However, reports claimed that stone-pelters targetted the procession.

Defence Minister Arun Jaitley described the abduction and killing as "a dastardly act" of cowardice.

"This young officer from J&K was a role model," Jaitley said in a tweet.

(With Agency inputs)