Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat today asked his officers to organise a special recruitment drive in Gurez that would cater to the youth who lived in and around the region in Jammu and Kashmir.
Rawat’s instructions came after a free-wheeling discussion with a group of youngsters from the Gurez Valley, during which they listed the problems they faced such as unemployment in the region.
The group is here on a National Integration Tour, organised by the Army. Under the programme, youth from Jammu and Kashmir are taken to different parts of the country.
While some expressed the desire to join the defence force, one young man talked about his dreams of making it big in the world of cricket.
When Rawat came across a student who had done his MA in Sociology, he asked him to apply for a post in one of the many Army Schools. The youth replied his passion was cricket.
The Army chief wanted to know about the area of cricket he specialised in, and then asked his officers to see if he could be sent to a cricket academy.
“If they hone his skills, he can at least play for the state team,” Rawat said.
“But you know how it works in the state team,” the cricket-lover responded, alluding to politics involved in the selection processes.
“We will have a separate Kashmir IPL team for you,” Rawat replied, in a reassuring tone.
The Army chief asked the group if they wanted to join the force or the paramilitary forces.
A young man, studying computer engineering, said Kashmiris often lost out in recruitments for the Army and paramilitary.
“There should be a recruitment in our region as well,” he said.
When a 20-year-old student sounded enthusiastic about joining the force, the Army chief promptly asked his subordinates to see if the youth could be accommodated in the Territorial Army.
Another member of the team complained that the people of Gurez were often targeted by others in the Valley.
Gurez is perched atop the Kashmir Valley. Most people are Muslims, but speak Shina, the local language, and are distinct from others in the Valley.
Gen Rawat asked his officers to organise a special recruitment for the region.