Kavita Suri

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Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

Panun Kashmir

Milchar

Symbol of Unity

 
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"While they fight the terrorists, their brethren fight them and call them as the Indian dogs"

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 for that. 

 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. 

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