Thousands of people gathered at iconic India Gate here this evening to pay homage to Indian Army officer Lieutenant Ummer Fayaz, who was killed by terrorists earlier this week.
Hundreds of army veterans, students and tourists took out a candle light march in his memory, with many voicing their demand for the death of the young lieutenant to be avenged.
"His killing is condemnable. Each and every part of the society should condemn the incident and it should not be accepted at any cost. Stability should return to the Valley. The path Fayaz chose should inspire the people," former Indian Army chief General Deepak Kapoor said.
The 22-year-old jawan was abducted by Hizbul militants on Tuesday from his house. Next morning, he was found dead in Shopian district where he had gone to attend wedding ceremony of his sister. Eyewitnesses said that a group of armed men entered the house and took away Fayaz, who was sitting with the bride.
The killing of young Kashmiri has sparked outrage in the country with the Army vowing to punish his killers.
Lieutenant General (Retired) VK Chaturvedi who participated in the event said the country has lost a role model.
Delhi: People pay tributes to late army officer Lt. Ummer Fayaz at India Gate, he was abducted and killed by terrorists pic.twitter.com/JpKUn7arq3— ANI (@ANI_news) May 13, 2017
Fayaz's senior from the National Defence Academy, Sidakdeep Singh, said that the slain officer could have been a role model for the misguided youth of Kashmir.
The march, that went around the India Gate circle, saw people raising slogans hailing his sacrifice. 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' rented the air along with cries condemning Pakistan and militant groups in the Valley. Many tourists who flocked the area also spontaneously joined the march in the evening.
The alumni association of Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, where Fayaz studied before joining the Pune-based National Defence Academy, were among the marchers, along with members of the 124 infantry battalion of the Territorial Army.
"If Kashmiris want to go with Pakistan, let them go. I am sure Kashmir will be left with nothing within a few months. And if Pakistan does not abide by the ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the Kulbhushan Jadhav case then the Indian Army should be given a chance to retaliate," Captain (retd) Ravi Verma said.
He was referring to the Hague-based ICJ staying the execution of the 46-year-old Indian, who has been sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of spying.
Fayaz, a farmer’s son, who studied at Navodaya Vidyalaya, a branch of government schools for gifted students, at Ashmuquam in South Kashmir, joined the Army after being commissioned in December last year. He was serving as a lieutenant with the Rajasthan Rifles division.
He belonged to the 129th batch of cadets from the prestigious Pune-based National Defence Academy.
This was for the first time that he had taken leave after joining the Army. He was supposed to have returned to his unit in the Akhnoor area of Jammu on May 25.