Off duty soldier killed by militants in Kashmir

Off duty soldier killed by militants in Kashmir

A 23-year-old army man was kidnapped and later killed by unidentified militants in south Kashmir's Shopian district on Saturday morning.

Reports said sepoy Irfan Ahmad Dar, posted with 175 Territorial Army (Engineers) in Gurez, Bandipora and a native of Shopian, had left home at Senzen village in his car on Friday but did not return.

His bullet-riddled body was found by the locals in an orchard in nearby Wothmula village of the district, reports said.

Senior Superintendent Police (SSP) Shopian Ambarkar Shriram, while confirming the incident said, "He (Irfan) was perhaps kidnapped by militants. His bullet-riddled body was recovered on today morning."

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti while condemning the killing of the soldier said, "Such acts will not weaken the resolve to establish peace and normalcy in Kashmir."

"Strongly condemn the brutal killing of Irfan Ahmed, a brave Territorial Army soldier at Shopian. Such heinous acts will not weaken our resolve to establish peace and normalcy in the valley," she wrote on Twitter.

Mehbooba's predecessor and opposition National Conference leader Omar Abdullah termed the incident as tragic and reprehensible. "The murder of young Irfan Dar is a very tragic & reprehensible act. My unqualified condemnation & heartfelt condolences to his family," tweeted Omar.

Irfan is the third off duty Kashmiri soldier killed this year. In May, Lt Ummer Fayaz was killed in the same district. Survived by his apple farmer father, mother and two sisters, Lt Ummer was a fresh pass out of the prestigious National Defence Academy (NDA).

The kidnap and brutal murder of off-duty army and police officials by militants in Kashmir is a worrying trend for security agencies. Earlier this year State police chief issued an advisory asking its personnel not to visit their ancestral homes, especially in south Kashmir areas.