An Indian soldier was finishing dinner when four masked gunmen men burst into his house in Indian Kashmir, killed him and injured four family members, eyewitnesses said.
Mohammad Ramzan Parray, a 31-year-old member of India’s Border Security Force was on leave and visiting relatives when the intruders – suspected militants – attacked him with knives and shot him dead at his family’s home in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district, police said Thursday.
Police blamed on Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a Pakistan-based militant outfit, for Wednesday night’s assault.
“LeT militant Mohammad Bhai and his aides are behind the attack. They were spotted in Bandipora just days ago,” Nitish Kumar, north Kashmir’s deputy inspector general of police, told BenarNews.
Parray’s 65-year-old father, Ghulam Ahmad, his older brother, Javid Ahmad, and aunt, Habla Begum, were injured while trying to save him, said another of his siblings, Mumtaz Ahmad Parray. Their father was seriously wounded in the attack.
“We had almost finished our dinner. It was about 9:30 p.m. Four masked men barged in. They were carrying guns. They asked for my brother’s ID. They spoke in Urdu,” Mumtaz told BenarNews. “When we intervened, they attacked us with knives while the other assailants dragged my brother out of the house and shot him from close range before fleeing.
“I don’t know who has killed my brother. Whoever has done this has ruined an entire family and its faith in humanity,” he added.
Parray had been on leave since Sept. 1 and was to rejoin his unit on Tuesday, according to Mumtaz.
“He was the only source of income for our family. His death will push us to starvation-like conditions. I am still in deep shock,” Mumtaz told BenarNews as he recovered from injuries at a local hospital.
The attack was the second instance of a soldier being slain while on leave in Indian-administered Kashmir, where an outbreak of separatist insurgency has killed more than 70,000 people – a majority of them civilians – since the late 1980s.
On May 8, Lt. Umer Fayaz, who was on his first vacation since being commissioned in the Indian Army, was picked up by two masked men from his house in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district, according to reports. The next day, the 22-year-old officer’s bullet-ridden body was found a few miles away.
“The militants are targeting local security personnel to create terror in the minds of the Kashmiri youth and to scare them away from joining Indian security forces,” Kumar said.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti condemned the attack and appealed for an end to the decades-old violence.
“It is unfortunate that a soldier was killed when he had come home to join his family,” Mufti said in a statement, adding, “The unending cycle of violence in the state is indeed regrettable. It is taking a heavy toll on our society, particularly the youth.”
Omar Abdullah, the state’s former chief minister and leading political opposition figure, spoke about the attack in a Twitter post.
“This terrible incident is abominable. Heartfelt condolences to the family of [the] slain. Hope the injured recover soon,” he posted.