In 2018, former Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh during his visit to Jammu and Kashmir had announced the raising of nine new battalions in J&K, including two border and two women battalions.
The recruitment process for these battalions commenced soon after his announcement, but gained momentum after August 5, 2019 — when the Centre announced its decision to revoke J&K’s special status and divided it into two Union Territories.
On January 11 this year, Jammu & Kashmir Police (JKP) invited online applications from the eligible candidates of J&K residing within the radius of 0 to 10 km from International Border/Line of Control/Actual Ground Position Line/Line of Actual Control (IB/LOC/AGPL/LAC) in border districts of J&K for participation in the selection process for the post of constable in two border battalions.
A total of 1,350 vacancies have to be filled and the candidates who had earlier qualified physical test for the post in response to the police headquarter notification issued on March 9, 2019, were asked not to apply again as they are already eligible for the written examination, which is likely to be conducted in the coming months.
Raising border battalions for J&K is a new concept put in practice by the present regime led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The main aim to raise these battalions is to empower the border residents who have been serving the nation since 1947 by supporting the armed forces in safeguarding the sovereignty of the country. These residents are strategic assets for the country and deserve laurels for the exemplary courage they have shown since 1947.
Till February 2021 (when India and Pakistan Army decided to adhere to ceasefire agreement), Pakistan resorted to heavy shelling along the International Border, but the border residents, despite facing difficult situations, stood like a rock and foiled the nefarious designs of the adversary to sneak into this side of the LoC.
Border battalions are being raised with an aim to provide a chance to border dwellers to serve the nation in a better way. It would also end the worries of many youth to earn their livelihoods and live a dignified life.
Centre for District Youth Training and Empowerment
To equip the young aspirants, who want to join the defence forces, the Centre for District Youth Training and Empowerment, Jammu, in collaboration with Mission Youth is playing a commendable role to prepare the youth to get entry into the Jammu and Kashmir Police, paramilitary and Indian armed forces.
It is providing necessary physical and mental skills training required for the recruitment. The centre also aims at channelising their energies in the positive direction by encouraging activities like sports and recreation, drug de-addiction drives, providing facility of libraries/24×7 reading rooms, career counselling, besides yoga and meditation classes.
There were a number of eligible young boys and girls from border, rural and urban areas who aspired to be future army/paramilitary soldiers, but the lack of proper training prevented them from achieving their goal. But now the time has changed, as after August 5, 2019, ten centres, nine in border blocks and one in rural-urban only for girls, have been set up in Jammu South, Jammu North, RS Pura, Marh, Akhnoor, Khour and Chowki Choura.
These are working to enhance the academic ability of the jobless youth. The centres are being run in abandoned government buildings, while physical endurance training is being conducted in the grounds in the respective blocks.
Many youth who yearn to join the armed forces are getting proper guidance and facilities for the first time in 70 years. These centres, besides providing physical and mental training, are inculcating the spirit of nationalism among the youngsters.
Around 70 trainees are enrolled in each centre and no fee is charged from them. To encourage these youth, an amount of Rs 1000 per month is paid to them for maintaining their health. They are instructed to take healthy food after hard physical and academic sessions daily.
The efforts being put in by the Central and UT governments have changed the outlook of youth towards life. Just two years ago, there were no such facilities in place. The ones who had that burning desire to serve the country were not provided with enough opportunities and training.
The erstwhile political regimes in Jammu and Kashmir just concentrated on accommodating their party workers as Class-IV employees or daily wagers with an aim to use them as their vote bank during the elections.
The new initiatives in Jammu and Kashmir have provided a ray of hope to the disillusioned youth, who were caught in a quagmire of uncertainty for the past three decades of Pakistan-sponsored turmoil.
The former, rulers instead of looking for ways and means to pull the youngsters out of the mess by providing them with a chance to build their careers and live a dignified life, added to the chaos by harping about the situation in J&K being irreversible.
The politicians, who ruled the erstwhile princely state till 2018, didn’t focus on channelising the energy of the youngsters in a positive way. It’s unfortunate but true that J&K youth were never a priority for them.
Eccentric Approach Helped Adversary
The eccentric approach of the politicians led to the adversary taking advantage of the situation. Kashmiri youth getting lured towards militancy was the outcome of the former regimes not addressing their concerns.
The Kashmiri leaders, who are talking about “fighting till their last breath” for the restoration of J&K’s special status, need to answer a simple question. How did special status benefit a common man?
Had it benefitted the common resident of J&K, there would not have been so much unemployment and alienation in the Himalayan region.
Another question they need to answer is why did they fail to take initiatives like raising border battalions and setting up training centres for the youth? Did anyone stop them?
The answer is simple: They just wanted to grind their axes so that they could remain “undisputed rulers” with power shifting from one family to another.
New Delhi Breaks All Shackles
The steps that have been taken by the Centre post August 5, 2019 have proven it beyond doubt that J&K leaders worked for their own empowerment rather than that of a common man. As on date, more than 95 per cent of J&K’s population is holding the Tricolour close to their hearts and nationalist voices that were subdued in the past are becoming vocal.
New Delhi has broken all the shackles and is leaving no stones unturned to provide everything to a common man in Jammu and Kashmir. A strong foundation is being laid to build “Naya J&K” and the common man is supporting all the moves of the government.
Raising border battalions is a part of the package which the Centre had devised for the people and it is being delivered to them now.