The body of a young Indian Army officer with multiple bullet wounds was found on Wednesday (10 May) in a village 30 km away from where he was allegedly kidnapped by militants the night before in the northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, a hot bed of insurgency.

Lieutenant Ummer Fayaz, 22, of the Rajputana Rifles regiment had joined the forces about five months ago and was off duty when he was kidnapped. His body was found with bullets in the head and abdomen, army sources told NDTV news channel. The sources warned against a worrying trend of militants targeting unarmed, off duty soldiers in the valley.

Fayaz was reportedly taken away by militants at around 10pm local time (5.30pm BST) on Tuesday night while he was at a cousin's wedding at his hometown Kulgaon. The family did not report the matter to the police or army out of fear. They reportedly hoped he would not be harmed.

"Young and full of life, the officer was just commissioned in December. The troops enjoyed being with him," army sources told the news channel. Fayaz was fresh out of the National Defence Academy (NDA) and knew the risks, but "didn't think twice about going to his village unarmed", they added.

The killing reportedly prompted the state police to issue an advisory to all its soldiers to avoid visiting their native towns, especially in south Kashmir, highlighting the recent surge in militant activities in districts like Pulwama, Shopian, Anantnag and Kulgam.

Indian soldiers beheaded Kashmir
An Indian army soldier, Lieutenant Ummer Fayaz was kidnapped and later killed by militants in south Kashmir, just days after the army launched major anti-terror offensive in the state - File photo Danish Ismail/Reuters