Days after Pulwama attack, thousands of Kashmiris throng army recruitment drive

The army said that those who have cleared their Class 10 examination, the basic qualification, could apply for the job. “We got a fair number of graduates and a few postgraduates as well who applied for the job,” Beniwal said.

Thousands of young Kashmiri men are lining up outside an Indian Army camp in north Kashmir to participate in a recruitment drive of the force, after the deadly attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama last week.

The men from Baramulla, Kupwara and Bandipora districts have been assembling at the army’s 161 Territorial Army camp with their job applications every day since Monday even as Kashmiris outside the state have been assaulted and harassed following the suicide bomb attack in Pulwama on February 14.

Colonel Ved Beniwal, commanding officer of 161 Territorial Army camp in Baramulla, said they have received thousands of applications for 111 posts of soldiers.

“To fill these posts we started a recruitment drive from February 18 which will continue till February 23. Almost 3,500 people have applied so far and many more are still coming,” Col Beniwal said.

He said the applicants immediately are put through some grilling physical tests.

“You can yourself judge the response going by the numbers. It is a good response,” the army officer said.

The army said that those who have cleared their Class 10 examination, the basic qualification, could apply for the job. “We got a fair number of graduates and a few postgraduates as well who applied for the job,” Beniwal said.

After the physical tests, the army will check the documents of those who passed the physical tests and that will be done after the completion of the drive.

A long queue of men looking for a job could be seen outside the camp in Baramulla.

“It is a good job opportunity. I am a graduate, have crossed 30 years of age and am still without a stable source of income,” an applicant from Kupwara district, who did not want to be identified, said.

“I know many people will dislike my decision but ultimately my life is my baby to take care of. They won’t be earning on my behalf,” he said.

There has been anger among Kashmiris over the “revenge” attacks on local students and professionals in other states after a local Jaish-e-Mohammad militant Adil Ahmad Dar rammed a car filled with explosives into a CRPF convoy killing 40 personnel. The attack caused rage across the country with mobs going hostile against many Kashmiris.

The dearth of jobs in the Valley and the security of a government job at a young age are factors that pull the Kashmiri youth – despite many with a pro-freedom sentiment – to police and the army.

Such a presence of young Kashmiris for government jobs are not new in the restive valley.

After the 2016 unrest following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant commander Burhan Wani, thousands had donned the olive and khaki uniforms as the state held many recruitment drives, especially for special police officers (SPOs) across the state.

Source: Hindustan Times

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