SRINAGAR: Amid the chaos and rising slogans of Azadi in Kashmir valley, a group of Kashmiris donned the uniform of Indian Army on Thursday with a pledge to fight for country. As many as 308 recruits participated in the passing out parade to join Indian Army’s Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JAKLI) regiment while the curfew was imposed outside the parade ground. JAKLI exclusively recruits people from the state of J-K – including Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.
Out of a total of 308 soldiers, 116 are from Kashmir valley and Muslim dominated areas of Jammu who went through a rigorous 11-month training at Renegarh centre located in the outskirts of Srinagar. The families of Kashmiri soldiers who wanted to see their children in the parade had to travel in the night in order to avoid the raging protesters and stone pelting youth.
Kashmir has been in the grip of massive violence since July 8 when Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter by the Indian Army. Ever since, the clash between angry youth and army has become a routine in the valley and till now more than 60 people have lost their lives.
The parents and family members of new inducted soldiers, however, didn’t speak much about their feelings of their kids joining the army. Many refused to speak and those who spoke said that since valley has a dearth of employment, poor Kashmiri youth didn’t have much of a choice – it was either the police or the army.