Srinagar: The abduction and killing of 22-year-old Lieutenant Ummer Fayaz on Tuesday evening was carried out by three local Hizbul Mujahideen militants, the Indian Express reported on Friday.
The three local militants are identified as Abbas Ahmad Bhat, Ishfaq Ahmad Thokar and Ghyas-ul-Islam, the report said, adding Abbas led the three-men group.
“Fayaz, police records show, was shot in the face and abdomen at point-blank range with an Insas 5.56 mm rifle which investigators believe was among several looted last year from police armouries during widespread rioting in rural Kulgam,” the report said.
Abbas was released on bail in April last year after spending five years in jail under trial for the 2011 murder of Shopian doctor Masood Ahmad who was killed in the course of a personal feud, the report said.
Abbas, along with his friends Sartaj Ahmad and Altaf Lone, was charged with having pushed Ahmad out of a moving vehicle, the report said.
“We are continuing to question people to determine how the killers came to know Lieutenant Fayaz would be attending the wedding”, an official familiar with the investigation was quoted as saying.
Abbas’s father, Abdul Jabbar Bhat, reported that Bhat had skipped bail and gone missing from home on September 25, the date he is thought to have joined the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, the report said. The Hizb operative is also suspected, police sources said, of the April 17 murder of Imtiyaz Ahmad Khan, one of three lawyers involved in prosecuting the 2011 murder of the Shopian murder, the report added.
Now 27, Abbas grew up in the village of Mantribugh, just a few kilometres from Fayaz’s home in Sursun and graduated from a local college. He taught briefly at a private school in the area, police records state, where he was working when he was arrested in the 2011 murder case, the report said.“It’s likely he knew of Lieutenant Fayaz for many years”, an officer familiar with the case was quoted as saying. “There aren’t exactly a lot of students who go on to join the Army”.
“It’s likely he knew of Lieutenant Fayaz for many years”, an officer familiar with the case was quoted as saying. “There aren’t exactly a lot of students who go on to join the Army”.
Ishfaq Ahmad Thokar, code-named Abrar, who is believed to have become active in the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen in September 2015, and Ghias-ul-Islam Thokar, code-named Fahad, who joined the group 13 months later, operated mainly in the area around their home village, Paderpora, the report said. Paderpora is a short distance from Sursun; both men may again have been acquainted with Fayaz.
Though the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen gained some numbers of local recruits in the wake of the killing of Burhan Wani in the summer of 2016, none of the recruits are known to have received advanced training in arms or tactics so far, and have relied on banditry or village-level contributions for their finances.