Day after army officer’s killing, Union home secy visits Kashmir to take stock


Union home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi is visiting Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday to take stock of the situation in the valley, a day after a young Kashmiri officer of the Indian Army was killed by militants in Shopian district.

Mehrishi will meet governor NN Vohra, chief minister Mehbooba Mufti and discuss with them the prevailing situation in the state.

The home secretary will also hold a meeting with top civil, police and army officers to review the security situation in the state.

Jammu and Kashmir had witnessed violence during the April 9 bypoll to the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat in which eight people lost their lives in more than 200 incidents. The Election Commission had also cancelled the May 25 bypoll to Anantnag Lok Sabha seat, saying situation there was not feasible for holding election.

There have been protests by students in the valley last month against alleged police excesses. Students, including girls, were seen pelting stones on security personnel in these incidents.

The bullet-riddled body of 22-year-old Lt Ummer Fayaz was found in Harmen in Shopian, hours after he was abducted by militants from Batpura village where he had gone to attend his cousin’s wedding.

The army has vowed to punish the killers of Lt Fayaz, saying the incident marks a watershed moment in the Kashmir Valley as people there will decisively turn the tide against terrorism.

“I assure the family that the perpetrators of this heinous crime and dastardly act will not be spared,” Lt Gen Abhay Krishna, General Officer Commanding-in Chief of South Western Command and Colonel of Rajputana Riffles, said in a condolence message to the family of Fayaz.

Calling the attack a “dastardly act of cowardice” by militants, defence minister Arun Jaitley said Fayaz’s sacrifice reiterates the nation’s commitment to eliminate terrorism from the Valley.

“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,” Jaitley said in a tweet.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi condoled the death, saying Fayaz will always be remembered.

“His memory will never be forgotten. Those who tried to defeat what he stood for, will themselves be defeated,” Gandhi said on Twitter.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee also expressed and said violence is never a solution.

“Extremely saddened at the murder of Lt Umer Fayaz by terrorists in Shopian. My sympathies with the family. Violence is never a solution,” she said in a tweet.

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