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Kashmir Violence: Toll reaches 11 in a violent clash with security forces, Curfew Imposed

The number of civilian protesters injured is said to be at least 100 which include those suffered bullet, tear smoke, and pellet injuries

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Srinagar: Protesters throwing stones on police vehicle during a protest following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani along with his two associates, in Srinagar on Saturday. PTI Photo by S Irfan (PTI7_9_2016_000126B)
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  • Three policemen were missing and 96 security personnel have been injured in Saturday’s clashes
  • The number of civilian protesters injured is said to be at least 100 which include those suffered bullet, tear smoke, and pellet injuries
  • The toll in bloody clashes between violent protesters and the security forces reached 11 after another injured succumbed to critical injuries in the hospital on Saturday, July 9

SRINAGAR: Curfew was imposed in Kashmir Valley on Sunday, July 10, to maintain the law and order situation after 11 protesters were killed in violent clashes with security forces on Saturday, officials said.

Kashmir Divisional Commissioner Asgar Hussain Samoon told reporters that curfew has been imposed in the entire valley from midnight to maintain law and order. He also appealed to the people to help authorities maintain peace.

The toll in bloody clashes between violent protesters and the security forces reached 11 after another injured succumbed to critical injuries in the hospital on Saturday, July 9.

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The protesters who died in clashes on Saturday following the killing of top Hizbul commander Burhan Wani include Adil Bashir of Dooru Anantnag, Danish Ayub of Achabal Anantnag, Abdul Hamid Moochi of Arwani Anantnag, Khurshid Ahmad of Harwat Kulgam, Jahangir Ganai of Bijbehara Anantnag, Azad Hussain of Shopian, Aijaz Ahmad Thokru of Siligam Anantnag, Ashraf Dar of Kokernag Anantnag, Showkat Ahmad of Bijbehara Anantnag, Haseeb Ahmad of Khanabal Anantnag and Saqib Mir of Achabal Anantnag.

Burhan, Hizbul Mujahidin. Image source:indianexpress.com
Burhan, Hizbul Mujahidin. Image source:indianexpress.com

Additional Director General (CID) S.M. Sahai and Inspector General of Police (Kashmir Zone) Syed Javid Mujtaba Gilani told reporters that the violent mob on Saturday burnt four police stations, two minority police pickets and the office of the tehsildar.

Besides, there were two incidents of weapon snatching and torching of several vehicles of the security forces.

The top police officers said three policemen were missing and 96 security personnel have been injured in Saturday’s clashes.

The number of civilian protesters injured is said to be at least 100 which include those suffered bullet, tear smoke, and pellet injuries.

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Violence erupted spontaneously in south Kashmir districts of Anantnag, Pulwama, Shopian and Kulgam and later spread to other districts in the valley after security forces killed top Hizbul commander Burhan Wani and two of his associates in Bamdoora (Kokarnag) village of Anantnag district on Friday.

Burhan Muzaffar Wani. Image source: www.india.com
Burhan Muzaffar Wani. Image source: www.india.com

Wani was buried in his native Shariefabad (Tral) village on Saturday where nearly 40,000 people gathered defying curfew restrictions to attend his funeral prayers.

The separatists have called for a valley-wide shut down till Monday against Wani’s killing.

The state cabinet headed by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti would meet in Srinagar on Sunday to deliberate on measures to ensure the law and order situation does not go out of hand and things are brought under control quickly. (IANS)

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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)