they fight the terrorists, their brethren fight them and call them as the
While their brethren in Kashmir are fighting security forces
since all these years of insurgency, they, on the other hand, are busy
fighting the terrorists and infiltrators on the Line of Control besides
securing the frontiers of Mother Nation. They are none but the jawans of
Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JAK LI) hailing from various militancy-infested
areas of Kashmir valley who have dedicated their lives to the nation despite
the serious threat of terrorists to their lives.
Motivated by the pan-Islamic fundamentalist forces operating in Kashmir
valley, hundreds of youngsters from Bandipore tehsil of highly militancy-infested
North Kashmir region joined various ranks of terrorist outfits during the
past 12 years of insurgency. Among these were many friends of A. H. Malik
who picked up the gun "for the cause of Kashmir" but Malik, 21, instead
joined the Indian army five years ago.
Irrespective of the fact that the terrorists operating in his native
village of Bankoot in Bandipore tehsil have made things difficult for him
and his family for joining Indian army and have dubbed him as "Hindustani
Kutta"(Indian dog), Malik today doesn't regret his decision to join one
of the most disciplined force of the world, though he had to pay some price
Since these past five years when he joined the Jammu and Kashmir
Light Infantry (JAK LI) of Indian army, Malik has hardly visited his family
in Bandipore as he knows that his life is at a great risk. But the joy
of guarding the frontiers of Mother Nation is far too more than the joy
of visiting this family. Initially recruited in Border Roads Organization
(BRO) in a recruitment drive conducted at Badami Bagh based 15 Corps headquarters
of Indian army at Srinagar, he later joined the JAK LI.
Malik is among hundreds of such Kashmir Muslim jawans who have donated
their lives for the sake of country notwithstanding the fact that the youth
of their age group are fighting them in Kashmir and other parts of the
state.” I have been participating in all the operations besides being a
part of patrolling party," he told The Statesman when visited at a forward
post of Indian army in Nowshera sector. At his post where firing and shelling
from across the border is an everyday affair, he holds Pakistan responsible
for the mess in Kashmir. Pakistani shelling has never scared him but what
has hurt him that even his childhood friends and other acquaintances in
Kashmir have called him as "Hindustani Kutta" many times.
Similar sentiments are aired by A.M.Magray, Havaldar of one of the battalions
of JAK LI deployed in Nowshera sector .He is considered as one of the most
responsible jawans by his officers. Hailing from Mattan area of district
Anantnag, he joined army 19 years ago. He has served in many parts of the
country and in the state also like Prankote, Arunachal Pradesh, Haft chinar
in Srinagar etc and has six years of service still left behind,
Surprisingly, most of the forward posts in Jhanger sub-sector of Nowshera
sector are entirely manned by the jawans of JAK LI comprising of Dogras
and Muslims from the trouble-torn start of Jammu and Kashmir.But half of
them hail from the trouble-torn valley and are Muslims. Most
youth in the in the Kashmir valley have been brainwashed by ISI agents
and taken across the border for subversive training. But jawans at Out
Posts (Ops) are all Kashmiris who have done nationalists in the valley
proud. But at a price.
Rifleman Riyaz (name changed on request) who also hails from Anantnag
district joined the Indian army more than five years ago. A young man of
23, he does not regret his decision to join the army. But whenever he is
home, he has to keep changing his address, staying with relative in turns,
to throw militants off his track. His parents and three siblings have to
put up with threats from militants who want him join them.
Like him, Lance Naik Mohammad Iqbal hails from Kashmir valley. It is
primarily because of this young man that the Pakistani attack on a forward
Indian post was repulsed on 16 August last year. Having seen a group of
30-35 men from the enemy side sneaking towards the Observation Post where
he was posted, he fired at two of them who had come very close to it. While
one of the Pakistani soldiers was killed on the spot, they managed to drag
the body of another soldier back to Pak territory. Iqbal had also seized
an AK 47 and a RPG rocket launcher left by Pakistani soldiers on the ridge.
Not only the youth from Kashmir valley, but also the young Muslims boys
from Rajouri and Poonch are also joining Indian army.
The army officers here believe that there has been an increase in the
number of Muslim jawans willing eagerly to join the Indian army is the
fact that they are disenchanted with insurgency and are well aware about
the role of Pakistan in it. "Hence, the option of joining the army is better
than joining militant ranks," said one of the officers.