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Missing Army Solider in Kashmir Traced by Police 

Anees Zargar |
Javed Ahmad Wani’s family suspected that militants abducted him. 

Image credit: Special arrangement

Srinagar: Army soldier Javed Ahmad Wani, missing since last week, has been traced by the local authorities in south Kashmir, the police said on Thursday night. 

“Missing Army jawan has been recovered by Kulgam Police. Joint interrogation will start shortly after [a] medical check-up. Further details shall follow,” the Kashmir Zone Police tweeted quoting a top police official. 

Wani’s family suspected that the 25-year-old soldier from the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JAKLI) Regiment was abducted by militants. They made fervent appeals seeking Wani’s release and claimed they would force him to resign if he was released. 

“We had been desperately awaiting him for the last six days. When we heard about his whereabouts, the whole family and village celebrated. We are thankful that security forces and locals from our area helped us find our son,” Wani’s uncle told reporters in the family’s native village of Asthal, in Kulgam. Neighbours and relatives have visited the family to express solidarity. 

It was unclear for days what led to Wani’s sudden disappearance as no militant outfit claimed to have abducted him or made any demands against his release. “Things will only get clearer once the investigation is complete,” a senior Army officer told Newsclick

Wani was posted in Ladakh and had recently visited his home for holidays. He was expected to leave a day after allegedly missing from his locality. His family later claimed that Wani left home last Saturday to buy groceries from a local market. His family and relatives were worried after he did not answer calls, especially after his car was reportedly found abandoned. 

The J&K Police and the Army launched a joint operation to trace Wani. His mother released a video message appealing to his ‘captors’ to release him. 

It was suspected that Wani was abducted as around six off-duty soldiers and policemen had been targeted by militants. In March 2022, the body of a Territorial Army soldier Sameer Ahmad Malla was retrieved from an orchard in central Kashmir’s Budgam district following his abduction. 

Militancy-related violence has dropped significantly in the region as the number of local active militants has decreased. Security forces, however, believe the footprints of foreigners in the region have increased with increasing infiltration reported since January. More than 12 such infiltration attempts have been reportedly foiled along the Line of Control (LoC) in which around 24 infiltrators have been killed this year. 

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