Sanjha Morcha

Army deserter shot dead in Pulwama

Went on 3-day leave and never returned

SRINAGAR: A 25-year-old man, who had deserted army last year, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen at Pinglina village in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Wednesday.

Officials said the gunmen attacked Showkat Ahmad Naik near his house at Pinglina. Naik died on the spot. No militant group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Initial reports said Showkat was a soldier of the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JAKLI). However, the army later clarified that he was not a soldier but a deserter. Defence Ministry spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia said Showkat never took oath as a soldier.

“He was enrolled on January 15, 2018 in the Territorial Army. He went to the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JAKLI) Regiment

Centre on March 21, 2018. On September 14, he went on three days leave and never returned,” the spokesman said, adding that Showkat was declared deserter on September 17 last year. Kalia said he was technically a civilian after being declared a deserter.

Soon after Showkat’s killing, a joint team of army and police

launched a search operation in the area to nab the assailants.

Last month, security forces had killed three Jaish-e-Mohammad militants during a gun battle at Pinglina village. One of the JeM militants killed in the encounter was believed to have played a crucial role in the Pulwama terror attack that killed 40 CRPF personnel.