Lt Fayaz fourth Kashmiri soldier to become victim of militancy

Young Kashmiri Army officer Lt Ummer Fayaz, who was abducted from his home in south Kashmir last week and shot dead, became the fourth serving soldier from Kashmir and the first officer to have fallen victim to the militant violence in the strife-torn region.
Lieutenant Fayaz was home on leave to attend the wedding of his cousin.
In the early 1990s, when militancy was at its peak, few Kashmiri youth would join the Army. The trend, has, however, changed slowly after the Army started holding massive recruitment rallies across the Valley.
An Army officer said 5,500 Kashmiris were serving in the Army at present. He said there were nearly 8,500 ex-servicemen.
The serving Kashmiri soldiers have been part of both anti-militancy and counter-infiltration operations.
Shabir Ahmed Malik, a member of the elite Special Forces of the Army, was the first Kashmiri soldier who died fighting militants during an anti-infiltration operation close to the Line of Control (LoC) in Kupwara in March 2009. Malik, a resident of central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district, was selected during an Army recruitment rally. He joined as a Sepoy in the Jammu Kashmir Light Infantry in March 2007 and then underwent the elite paratroopers’ training in Bangalore. In July 2008, the Para Commando was posted in Kupwara.
In March 2009, a massive anti-militancy operation was launched in the treacherous Shamsbari range near the LoC and Para Commando Malik along with three other Commandos, including Major Mohit Sharma, were killed in a four-hour-long operation. Malik was given a heroic farewell by locals. Para Commando Malik was awarded the Kirti Chakra.
Another Kashmiri soldier was killed along the LoC while foiling an infiltration bid on August 9, 2015. Bashir Ahmed War from the Territorial Army was killed along with a trekker dog in a gunfight with militants when they were trying to infiltrate through the Tangdhar sector of Kupwara. War was a resident of Kupwara district.
This year, two soldiers, including Lt Ummer Fayaz, have been killed by militants. Earlier this year, Lance Naik Ghulam Mohiuddin Rather, a resident of Bijbehara in Anantnag, was killed along with three soldiers of the Rashtriya Riflesin an ambush by Hizbul Mujahideen militants in Shopian on February 23 this year. A large number of people attended his funeral in his native village.
Almost three months later, Lieutenant Fayaz became the first Army officer, since 1990, to be killed by militants while on leave in his home state. Lieutenant Fayaz’s killing sparked widespread anger. Even the militant group blamed by the police for his murder said it had nothing to do with the abduction and murder.
While the Army and the administration have reached out to the officer’s family, no politician has visited the family to offer condolences.