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Is Srinagar turning blind eye to militants who killed 3 policemen?

Several questions such as “Don’t they have the right to live?” “Why to attack unarmed policemen?” are being raised.

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J&K Cheif minister, Image credits : Indianexpress.com
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  • Unidentified gunmen shot dead 2 policemen at Bagh-e-Mardan 
  • Hizbul Mujahideen claimed responsibility for all these lethal attacks
  • Militants are getting ready for more action and are lurking in Srinagar

SRINAGAR: For the first time in 3 years once again Policemen are being targeted by the militants in Jammu and Kashmir. Unidentified militants shot dead 3 policemen from the Special Operation Group (SOG) recently in Srinagar on May 24.

In the first attack, unidentified gunmen shot dead 2 policemen at Bagh-e-Mardan (located 200m from Zadibal police station). Both officers were unarmed. After being shot they died on their way to the hospital. Whereas in the second attack attackers came on a motorcycle and shot the policemen. Before fleeing the spot they also managed to snatch Rifles and other weapons.

Hizbul Mujahideen claimed responsibility for all these lethal attacks. He has further warned of similar attacks in near future. For a long time though the J&K police have been able to maintain the city as a militant free place. Security forces were achieving very good success but these killings now indicate militants have managed to sneak into the city. However, security in Srinagar was tightened and armed policemen were deployed in crowded areas.

Javid Mujtaba Gillani (Inspector General of Police (Kashmir Zone)) said: “the attacks were the result of security forces maintaining pressure on militants.”

Paying homage to dead soldiers. Wikimedia commons
Paying homage to dead soldiers. Wikimedia commons

K Rajendra Kumar (The Director General of Police) further elucidated “Militant recruits face a shortage of weapons because the traditional arms-supply through the Line of Control has been thwarted by a strict vigil of the Indian Army, according to news reports. The militants, as a result, have taken to snatching weapons from security forces to stock their arsenals.

These attacks a desperate act by militants to announce their presence. Militants are getting ready for more action and are lurking in Srinagar.

Contrary to this fact Khurram Parvez, (human rights activist and Programme Coordinator of the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society in Srinagar) said “the police personnel knows the consequences and dangers involved in duty. Legally speaking this [Zadibal shootout] was combatants fighting combatants,”

J&K Chief minister Mehbooba Mufti paid homage to the departed souls of the policemen. Omar Abdullah (National Conference working president) called it a “worrying development. Locals are mourning the death of those unarmed police forces. Several questions such as “Don’t they have the right to live?” “Why to attack unarmed policemen?” are being raised. There have been sayings that “If this is Jihad, then we want nothing out of it.”

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-by Pritam

Pritam is a 3rd year engineering student and an intern at NewsGram. Twitter handle: @pritam_gogreen

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  • Pritam Go Green

    India and Pakistan should work collectively to stop these infiltration. The more we are trying to make peace in J&K , the more they attack.

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    J&K have been a place of such inhuman activities. There are people in J&K who are anti-Indians. The main reason behind this is the brainwash they go through. Some wish to declare J&K as a separate country, not with Pakistan nor with India

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Meet Kelly Oliveira, Brazilian By Birth But ‘American’ By Heart

Embarking on a 'new journey'

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Kelly Oliveira reacts after becoming a U.S. Citizen during a naturalization ceremony in Baltimore, Maryland.
Kelly Oliveira reacts after becoming a U.S. Citizen during a naturalization ceremony in Baltimore, Maryland. VOA

When Brazilian native Kelly Oliveira signed up for the U.S. Army through a program that offered her citizenship for her service, she thought she had it made.

But it took two years for the army to work through the added background checks. During that time she struggled to remain legal.

Oliveira finally made it through the process and was sworn in as a citizen last week.

She took the oath on a day designated to honor the U.S. flag, a group of 28 people from 18 countries became American citizens at the historic house where the flag that inspired the national anthem was made.

“I learned to love this country that I adopted as my own. … I’ve always [thought] of myself as an American by heart,” she said.

But it took 13 years to make it official. On a day designated to honor the U.S. flag, a group of 28 people, including Oliveira, from 18 countries became American citizens at the historic house where the flag that inspired the national anthem was made.

“It’s been a long journey. … Of course there were moments that I was thinking ‘Should I continue waiting?’” she said.

Oliveira’s wait was due to changes in a military program called Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest program, or MAVNI reported on by VOAlast December. It was launched in 2009 to bring immigrants with medical or language skills into the armed services.

Kelly Oliveira examines paperwork before her naturalization ceremony in Baltimore, Maryland.
Kelly Oliveira examines paperwork before her naturalization ceremony in Baltimore, Maryland. VOA

She enlisted in the Army in March 2016 under MAVNI, which promised her citizenship in exchange for service.

Enlisting for status

Oliveira had tried other ways to stay legal. But nothing worked.

“I went to school and I had my OPT, and I got a teaching position job as a preschool teacher,” Oliveira said.

The OPT or Optional Practical Training allows international students with an F-1 visa to work in the U.S. for up to one year in a field related to their studies. She tried to get a work visa through the schools where she was employed at the time.

“Unfortunately the school where I was working at; they could not [sponsor] me,” she said.

That’s when she entered the MAVNI program. But on June 2016, the program was shut down, which affected Oliveira’s enlistment.

The U.S. government retroactively required background checks on anyone who had enlisted in the military through the MAVNI program, including anyone who was currently serving or waiting to be shipped to basic training.

For Oliveira that meant a two-year wait. She went to training drills and struggled to stay legal.

Those who witnessed her journey said it was tough. “I don’t think I’d be able to do it because it’s, I mean, it’s been a, it’s been a long journey. It’s been a struggle and it’s, it’s been like a nightmare,” Lauren Schroeder, a D.C. native who has been friends with Oliveira for many years, told VOA.

“I mean the down was the fact that it took so long. And I guess the up is that she was able to join the military and get a citizenship that way. So finally, it happened,” Schroeder said.

Kelly Oliveira, during her naturalization ceremony in Baltimore, Maryland
Kelly Oliveira, during her naturalization ceremony in Baltimore, Maryland, VOA

Embarking on a ‘new journey’

Margaret Stock, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who created the MAVNI program, told VOA she is not surprised by Oliveira’s successful story.

“That’s what’s supposed to happen. They’re eligible for citizenship and they’re supposed to be able to get it quickly,” Stock said.

But the retired Army lieutenant colonel said, even though there are stories like Oliveira’s, lots of recruits are still falling out of status due to the additional checks.

“So people are timing out and they can’t ship out to basic training until the [U.S. government] completes all these background checks,” she said.

In a previous interview with VOA, Stock said everyone who wants to serve in the military has to go through background checks but the government was already doing a lot more background checking on the MAVNIs.

“They are the most checked group of people that entered the U.S. military,” Stock said adding this is an investigation normally done on someone getting top-secret clearance with the U.S. government.

On Flag Day, Oliveira signed the papers. She checked in with immigration officials. Then the ceremony started.

Also read: Indian-American Diaspora Plays an Important Role in Country’s Development

“Sky’s the limit for me now it’s just the beginning of my new journey. Now I’m going to basic training in a couple of months, and I’m very excited about that,” Oliveira said. (VOA)