May 2017 News

Ummer Fayaz Killing: Army Officer Was Betrayed By People He Grew Up With

11 May 2017
India Today
Gaurav C Sawant

New Delhi: Blackmail, betrayal and brutality - three words to describe killing of Lieutenant Ummer Fayaz from Kashmir by terrorists. As the Army quietly mourns the young officer's death, his brothers-in-arms and his family came together to remember him and promise retribution. Villagers found Fayaz's bullet-riddled body early on Wednesday, a day after he was snatched by terrorists at his cousin's wedding. 'He was a role model and by his actions had inspired some youngsters to join the armed forces. Terrorists felt threatened and perhaps that was the reason he was abducted and killed,' said Brig Adish Yadav, commandant, Rajputana Rifles. Terrorists, separatists and Pakistan's proxies have been desperately peddling a narrative of the entire Valley being against the Indian state. But 22-year-old Lt Ummer being a part of the Army and yet flourishing defeated their narrative. The officer of the 2nd battalion of the Rajputana Rifles had taken leave to go home to the troubled Kulgam town in south Kashmir to attend the wedding. 'He was not scared of going home. He knew all the boys. They had grown up together. In fact his personality was so pleasing that several youngsters in his locality looked up to him. He told us about them. We even had a conversation about the unrest in south Kashmir but he was confident it would blow over,' said Major Yuvavir Kadyan, his instructor and company commander. But his popularity irked the terrorists and defeated the idea of an Islamic caliphate they were so desperately trying to propagate. BETRAYED BY HIS OWN: He was stabbed in the back by some of his own. Police sources in the Valley have been piecing together the sequence of events. Local Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists found out that he had come home. 'Three terrorists barged into the house of his relative in Shopian. He was at that time with his cousin - the bride to be. The terrorists went to the first-floor room of the house and dragged him down,' police sources said. 'The information we have seems to indicate there was another group of armed terrorists threatening the groom. Young Lt Ummer Fayaz did not want either the bride or the groom and even their families threatened. So he went with the terrorists. The family did not immediately inform the police. They thought the terrorists would perhaps threaten or rough him up but later return him.' There was an Army post barely a kilometre away from where the abduction of the young lieutenant took place. 'We could have mounted an operation considering some of the boys were locals and were identified by the villagers. Perhaps had the family or the relatives informed us, he could have been saved,' said an official. 'MILITANTS SENDING A SIGNAL': 'The terrorists clearly appear to be sending out a signal. They are trying to intimidate people. They don't want locals to either join the Army or the police. But they will not succeed. Locals are very angry with terrorists killing the son of the soil,' said Maj Avdesh Chowdhary, Lt Ummer's instructor at the Regimental Centre. Some locals say they thought Ummer Fayaz was studying medicine and was not an Army officer. 'Some did tell us that they were shocked to see terrorists pick up a doctor. His family had not told many people he was an Army officer. But most knew he was a soldier,' sources added. The Army has promised a quick but quiet retribution. 'There is a plan in place. The perpetrators will be identified and neutralised. We will avenge the death of our own,' promises Subedar Nazruddin and Naik Adeeb Siddique - both instructors of the young officer at the Regimental Centre. Barely 24 hours after Lt Fayaz was killed to intimidate people against joining the security forces, thousands of youth lined up to join the Jammu and Kashmir Police - sending out a clear message to Pakistan and its proxies - they remain undeterred in their quest for employment and a better life.