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India: Kashmiri Youths Defy Threats to Join Armed Forces

“I don’t care about the threats. If these threats begin to scare us, we will not be able to do any jobs."

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Army post, Kashmir Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Gulfam Asim Khan is among thousands of jobless and educated young Kashmiris who are defying warnings from armed separatists by pursuing careers in the Indian armed forces and security services.

Last week, the 22-year-old appeared for a written test that is a prerequisite for signing up with the army.

“I am passionate about joining the army. I am hopeful that I will clear the written test, and my dream of becoming a soldier will come true,” Khan, a Kupwara resident, told BenarNews.

He was one of 12,000 potential recruits who underwent a series of rigorous physical tests in the volatile Kupwara district of Indian-administered Kashmir between May 19 and May 21, although the banned separatist outfit Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) had recently threatened to kill anyone who joined the Indian military or security agencies.

Six hundred of the applicants were shortlisted for the written exam.

But just a day before Khan sat for the Indian Army entrance test on Thursday, army porter Liyaqat Ali, 22, was gunned down by suspected HM militants in Kupwara.

Khan, a resident of the district, shrugged off the threats.

“I don’t care about the threats. If these threats begin to scare us, we will not be able to do any jobs. Where would educated Kashmiri youths like me go? There is already a massive dearth of jobs in the private sector in the state,” Khan said.

A new trend

A separatist insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir, which is claimed in its entirety by India and Pakistan, has killed more than 70,000 people since the late 1980s.

Kashmiri applicants sit for the Indian Army’s entrance exam in Kupwara, Kashmir, May 21, 2016 Image Source: BenarNews
Kashmiri applicants sit for the Indian Army’s entrance exam in Kupwara, Kashmir, May 21, 2016 Image Source: BenarNews

The Indian Army said it had advertised 55 vacancies, for which it received more than 12,000 applications – a sharp contrast to the early 1990s, when Kashmiri youth stayed away from joining the armed forces.

“It is a good sign that more and more Kashmiris are gradually showing interest in joining the army so that they can contribute to nation-building in a better way,” Col. C.B.S. Bhadwal, commanding officer of the Kupwara-based 160 Territorial Army, responsible for the recruitment drive, told BenarNews.

The results of the written exam will be publicized in June, Bhadwal said.

Ishfaq Ahmad, a 25-year-old graduate from the town of Karnah, which is close to the Line of Control (LoC) – the boundary that separates the parts of Kashmir that are claimed by India and Pakistan, respectively, said the army should have advertised more vacancies.

“Considering the joblessness in Kashmir, the army should have advertised at least 1,000 jobs so educated youths in the state have enough opportunities to make something of their lives,” Ahmad told BenarNews.

According to official figures, about 600,000 Kashmiris between the ages of 20 and 30 are unemployed.

“The threats from separatists notwithstanding, we have to work to earn money. Besides, one who aspires to be a soldier must be prepared to face and overcome such challenges,” said Shamim Ahmad Khan, 24, who applied for one of the 55 vacancies.

“The pay in the Indian Army is decent so I didn’t want to lose out on this opportunity,” Khan told Benar. (Source: Benarnews)

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4 COMMENTS

  1. It seems that the Kashmiri youth do not harbor any ill feelings towards our country.And they now want to join the Indian Army.Whether the cause is unemployment or something else entirely,i have mixed feelings about this.

  2. This is so inspirational. Knowing the situation of Kashmir, when youth comes forward with such an ideology, it gives me a great pleasure in calling Kashmir a state of my country- INDIA

  3. It is a great symbol for Indian army that most of the kashmiri youngsters wants to work for India. The Indian army always try to motivate them for giving more and more exams.

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UN General Assembly: Pakistan Representative Maleeha Lodhi goofs up, labels Gaza photo as Kashmir’s

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Maleeha Lodhi at UN General Assembly
Maleeha Lodhi at UN General Assembly

United Nations, Sep 24: In a failed attempt to counter India at the UN General Assembly, Pakistan’s Representative Maleeha Lodhi tried to pass off a distorted fact. She displayed a disturbing picture of Gaza and labelled it as the “face of Indian democracy”.

Lodhi was responding to Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s description of Pakistan as a “pre-eminent export factory for terror” at UN General Assembly 2017.

The photo, Lodhi displayed at the UN General Assembly to show Indian “atrocities” in Jammu and Kashmir was of 17-year-old Rawya Abu Jom. In reality, the picture is of 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict, where two Israeli airstrikes hit Rawya Abu Jom, family’s apartment in Gaza.

Exercising the Right of Reply, Maleeha Lodhi accused India of “crimes against humanity” and of carrying out a “campaign of brutality” in the Kashmir Valley. To prove her point, she held the photo of the girl whose face was riddled with wounds.

The photo has been featured in many photo galleries online, including by the New York Times and the Guardian.(IANS)

Next Story

Bollywood Megastars Hema Malini and Amitabh Bachchan Promote New Short-film ‘Vaadi-e-Kashmir’

Kashmir's mountains, greenery and the beautiful shikaras; Vaadi-e-Kashmir aims to touch the heart of the Kashmiri brothers and sisters

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Vaadi-e-kashmir
Vaadi-e-Kashmir aims to make our brothers and sisters in Kashmir feel that the rest of the country stands with them. YouTube

Kashmir, September 7, 2017 : Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan and veteran actress-politician Hema Malini have featured in “Vaadi-e-Kashmir”, a short film aimed at spreading the message of oneness.

“As an Indian, this film is my attempt to reach out to Kashmir and touch the hearts of our brothers and sisters in the valley,” Hema, who has also curated the film, said in a statement.

Vaadi-e-Kashmir
Veteran actress-politician Hema Malini has featured in “Vaadi-e-Kashmir”, a short film aimed at spreading the message of oneness. IANS

‘Vaadi-e-Kashmir’ will make you fall in love with the people of Kashmir 

“Vaadi-e-Kashmir”, which captures the valley’s beauty and people, is supported by KENT RO Systems Ltd, and has music and lyrics by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and Gulzar. It is directed by filmmaker Pradeep Sarkar and conceptualised by Praveen Kenneth, Chairman – Law & Kenneth Saatchi & Saatchi.

Talking about his experience of shooting the film over two weeks in Kashmir, Sarkar said in statement: “Falling in love at the age of 62 years is possible… It happened to me when I went and met Kashmir. Though it was my first trip to Kashmir, it seemed like I knew the place.”

“The warm and friendly people just make you feel at home instantly. In this film, I tried to capture her beauty… but I want to go back to capture her beauty unawares — and also to know her a little better. Believe it, we all need to know her a little better.”

#DilSeKashmir : Watch ‘Vaadi-e-Kashmir Trailer 

Amitabh gives a key message at the start of the movie, which showcases Kashmir’s mountains, greenery and shikaras.

The vision of the six minutes long film is to make our brothers and sisters in Kashmir feel that the rest of the country stands with them and also open many more doors to bring us closer to one another, said Mahesh Gupta, Chairman – KENT RO.

“Vaadi-e-Kashmir” also calls viewers to log on to www.dilsekashmir.com, a platform for the people across the nation to send a message of love to the people of Kashmir. (IANS)

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Indian-American Lawmakers Slam US President Donald Trump’s Transgender Military Ban

They are accusing him of bigotry

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Trump's transgender military ban is being slammed by India-American lawmakers
Trump's transgender military ban is being slammed by India-American lawmakers. Wikimedia
  • Ami Bera is the longest-serving Indian-American currently in the Congress
  • Removing these men and women from service or refusing recruits because of who they are going against every American value they swear to defend
  • Our transgender service members deserve honour and respect

Washington (US), August 27, 2017: Prominent Indian-American lawmakers have criticised US President Donald Trump after he signed a memo instructing the Defence Department to stop accepting transgender people into the armed forces.

The presidential memorandum signed on Friday officially requested the Pentagon to develop an implementation plan for the ban by February 21, 2018, to be put in place on March 23, 2018.

Slamming the move, Democratic US Representative Ami Bera said, “If you wear an American military uniform, you deserve the respect and support of the Commander-in-Chief… Unfortunately, Donald Trump is more comfortable peddling in discrimination and bigotry, and he’s shown that he is unable to support our troops.”

“Removing these men and women from service or refusing recruits because of who they are going against every American value they swear to defend,” said Bera, who is the longest-serving Indian-American currently in the Congress, in a press release.

ALSO READ: US Senate Confirms Three Indian Americans picked by President Donald Trump to Key Governmental Posts

The directive, signed on Friday, bars transgender people from enlisting, but instructs Secretary of Defence James Mattis and the Homeland Security “to determine how to address transgender individuals currently serving based on military effectiveness and lethality, unitary cohesion, budgetary constraints, applicable law, and all factors that may be relevant”, according to a White House official.

It ordered the Pentagon to stop paying for gender reassignment surgeries, except in cases that were already in progress to “protect the health of an individual”.

California Democrat Ro Khanna tweeted, “Our transgender service members deserve honour and respect. This military ban is anti-trans discrimination and must not be tolerated.”

In a tweet, Illinois Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi said that he hoped that Trump would reconsider the ban.

“I hope the President immediately reconsiders this ban. There is no place for discrimination in our armed forces.”

In another tweet, Krishnamoorthi said, “We must never abandon those who have sacrificed so much for their nation. #ProtectTransTroops”

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat from Washington, termed the ban “downright shameful”.

“I stand shoulder to shoulder with the transgender community. This is downright shameful. #TransRightsAreHumanRights,” she tweeted. (IANS)