Indian paramilitary soldiers stand guard in Srinagar on July 6, 2017. (Representative image) Photograph: (AFP)
Security agencies suspect Thokar may have joined militancy, but there is no confirmation
An alert has gone out in the Kashmir Valley after a soldier posted with 173 Battalion of Territorial Army (Engineers) is thought to have absconded, carrying a service rifle and ammunition, according to media reports.
Zahoor Ahmad Thokar, a resident of Pukwama's Sirnoo, had been installed in north Kashmir's Baramulla district.
According to an official, "Thokar deserted the army on the intervening night of July 5-6. He has ran away with the service assault rifle and three magazines."
Police have issued a major alert in the valley, posting by official communique: "All field formations are alerted."
Security agencies suspect Thokar may have joined militancy, but there is no confirmation on whether or not he has.
The Army has never had a soldier abscond to join militants, but in the past year there were several instances of policemen decamping with their service weapons to join the militancy in south Kashmir.