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Updated January 5th, 2024 at 18:08 IST

Indian forces avenge torture and murder of Lt Ummer Fayaz, eliminate LeT operative Bilal Ahmed Bhat

In a decisive counter-terrorism operation in Shopian, joint forces eliminated Bilal Ahmed Bhat, a notorious LeT operative responsible for brutal terrorist acts.

Yuvraj Tyagi
Bilal Ahmed Bhat
Lt Fayaz, kidnapped during a hometown visit, was tortured and murdered in 2017. | Image:Republic
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Srinagar: In a significant counter-terrorism operation in the Chotigam area of South Kashmir's Shopian district, joint forces of the Jammu and Kashmir Police and the Indian Army successfully neutralized a notorious terrorist linked to the banned group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). The identified operative, Bilal Ahmed Bhat, hailing from Chek-Cholan village, was responsible for a series of terror crimes, including targeted killings in the Kashmir Valley. Notably, his involvement extended to the brutal torture and execution of off-duty Indian Army Officer Lieutenant Ummer Fayaz in Kashmir.

Born on June 08, 1994, Lt Ummer Fayaz was the son of Shri Fayaz Ahmed Parrey and Smt Jameela from Sudsona village in Kulgam district, Jammu & Kashmir. An alumnus of Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Anantnag, Lt Ummer fulfilled his dream of becoming an Army officer after clearing the NDA exam. Notably, during his school days, Fayaz was once stopped and manhandled by a security force personal. However, instead of taking the hardline approach towards joining militancy, Fayaz decided to join the Indian Army and change Kashmir his own way. 

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Batapura Incident: A dark chapter in Shopian’s history 

Commissioned into 2 Raj Rif of the Rajputana Rifles Regiment in December 2016, he displayed excellence in both soldierly skills and sports, particularly in hockey. Tragically, he was kidnapped and brutally killed during his hometown visit in Batapura in May 2017, a reprehensible act that outraged the community.

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22-years-old Lt Ummer Fayaz. | Credit- Honourpoint

On May 9, 2017, during his leave, Lt Ummer was kidnapped by militants from Batapura near Behibag in Shopian district and later found dead with bullet wounds in Harmain village. The young 22-year-old officer’s body bore marks of torture. The bruises indicated heavy beating, possibly with the butt of a gun. Furthermore, there were gunshot wounds on his jaw and abdomen.

Lt Fayaz’s exemplary service had inspired many youths to join the army, possibly causing resentment among militants, leading to his abduction and subsequent killing. The loss of this dedicated soldier shook the community, and Lt Ummer Fayaz is remembered as a valiant officer who served the nation with utmost dedication. 

How LeT operative Bilal Ahmed Bhat's time ran out 

Bilal Ahmed Bhat, the neutralized LeT operative, was not only responsible for Lt Ummer Fayaz's murder but also implicated in other heinous acts. His sinister activities included grenade attacks on non-local laborers and the murder of Kashmiri Pandit Sunil Kumar Bhat. Additionally, he played a role in the instigation of local youth to join terrorist ranks, resulting in the induction of 12 individuals into terrorist organizations.

The joint cordon and search operation (CASO) commenced in the early hours of Friday based on specific intelligence about Bilal's presence. Upon reaching the suspected location, the terrorist opened fire indiscriminately, prompting a swift and effective retaliation from the security forces. The encounter led to the neutralization of Bilal Ahmed Bhat, and the subsequent search yielded incriminating materials, arms, and ammunition, including an AK series rifle and three magazines.

The recovered evidence, including Bhat's criminal record, will be crucial in further investigations into his potential involvement in other terror crimes. His role in instigating local youth and the killing of an arrested terrorist during a CASO at Nowgam in 2022 underscores the gravity of his actions. The joint forces remain vigilant, committed to unraveling and curbing the network of terror in the region. 

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The successful operation against Bilal Ahmed Bhat marks a significant step in the fight against terrorism in the Kashmir Valley. The sacrifice of dedicated officers like Lt Ummer Fayaz is not in vain, as security forces continue their relentless efforts to maintain peace and security in the region. 

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Published January 5th, 2024 at 18:00 IST

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