Militants abduct soldier on way to home for Eid in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama, massive search operation on

A soldier from the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry, which is also a part of the 44 Rashtriya Rifles, was on Thursday morning abducted by militants not too far away from the camp where he is posted.

A native of Poonch area in Jammu and Kashmir, the soldier who is identified as Aurangzeb, was kidnapped at around 11:30 am while he was on his way home for a leave. At least three heavily armed militants stopped the private vehicle in which he was travelling at Kalampora area of Pulwama and kidnapped the Indian Army sepoy.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

"The incident occurred 1.5 kilometre away from the 44 RR camp in Rajpora area of Pulwama," said Pulwama, senior superintendent of police, Mohammad Aslam.

According to another police official, a group of militants stopped the Santro vehicle in which the soldier was travelling at Kalampora. The vehicle belonged to a health department employee who was driving the car at the time.

The health department employee was asked by army men at the Shadimarg camp to drop Aurangzeb at Tukura area from where he was to head home. But while they had travelled only some distance from the army camp, the militants stopped the vehicle and let off the driver while taking the army man along with them.

Officials said that he had taken leave to celebrate Eid with his family.

"We have launched a manhunt for the militants," said a police official, adding that a case of kidnapping was registered at the Rajpora police station and the investigation was going on.

A police official said that the militants had descended on the busy Shadimarg-Kalampora road which connects with the main highway. "The militants kidnapped the army man on the main road that connects to the highway. The road often remains packed with vehicles and connects to the main highway,” said an official.

"The health department employee, who lives in Kadlibal, Awantipora works at sub-centre at Chaki Badrinath," the official said. The state government employee has been identified as Farooq Ahmad Alia.

A top police official, however, said that after the kidnapping, Farooq informed the concerned police station that they were confronted by militants minutes after the army man had travelled with him. "The driver had himself informed the police at the Rajpora police station. However, we are investigating whether the army man was trapped. The driver has not been released as of now and is with the police only,” the police official said.

The 44 RR had taken part in the operation that led to the killing of a top militant commander, Sameer Bhat, alias Sameer Tiger, at his hometown in Durbgam area of Pulwama, the police officer said. "In the encounter one army major of the Shadimarg camp Rohit Shukla was also wounded," Aslam said.

On 30 April, a joint team of 44 RR, as well as the personnel from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and state police, had taken part in the anti-militancy operation killing Sameer and his associate Aqib Mushtaq Khan of Rajpora area of Pulwama.

A police official said that joint party of army and CRPF had carried out searches at Drubgam village in Pulwama in wee hours and were fired upon triggering an encounter that resulted in the death of top commander.

After the unilateral ceasefire which was announced earlier by the Government of India (GoI) the incidents of stone pelting and public protests have declined as the forces have stopped launching the non-initiation of combat operations (NICO). However, militants have intensified their attacks by launching "the assaults" on army camps and patrolling parties of the forces. The militants have also struck at many places in Kashmir and looted weapons from the police, officials said, adding however that the vigil in Pulwama area, which is a heavily infested militant area, has been intensified.

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Updated Date: Jun 14, 2018 19:29:15 IST

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