Thousands in Valley queue up to be a cop
Experts say dearth of jobs in the state and the security of a government job are the two main factors that drive Kashmiri youth into the police and the army.Updated: Aug 31, 2018 23:29 IST
Thousands of Kashmiris line up to join the Jammu and Kashmir Police, despite the open threat and an overwhelming sentiment that favours ‘azadi’.
Experts say dearth of jobs in the state and the security of a government job are the two main factors that drive Kashmiri youth into the police and the army.
According to officials, around 5,000 persons, including 218 women, have been appointed as constables this year. They said that the selection of 698 sub-inspectors is in the final stage for which over 67,000 candidates had applied in May last year of which 35,722 hailed from Kashmir.
This month, 790 jawans completed the training course at Commando Training Centre, Lethpora, Pulwama while 215 constables passed at Police Technical Training Institution (PTTI) Vijaypur, Jammu.
“The J&K Police has earned respect as a strong force,” director general of police, Shesh Paul Vaid said on Tuesday at the passing out parade in Jammu.
In 2016, at least 25,000 young adults had applied for jobs as special police officers — who initially draw a monthly salary of Rs 6,000 — despite massive agitation that year following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant commander Burhan Wani. The recruitment drive had happened after home minister Rajnath Singh ordered for the enrollment of 10,000 Special Police Officers (SPOs) in the state.
A total of 90,000 regular police personnel and 31000 special police officers are fighting militants in Kashmir besides maintaining law and order in the state.
The DGP said that Jammu and Kashmir Police is fighting a proxy war for the last three decades in which 1,660 jawans and officers sacrificed their lives. Of these 1,660 police personnel who have been killed in these years of conflict, 499 have been SPOs.
Irrespective of their ‘pro-freedom’ sentiments or threats of militants, the interest of youth into the police and Army has been indicative of the dilemmas of an average person in the valley.
“Not denying the larger political aspirations and deep sentiment on the ground for Kashmir resolution, unemployment is another reality which forces people to join in government forces or even army for a living. There is no alternate economy here,” said Gowhar Geelani, political analyst and journalist.
In May 2017, the then chief minister Mehbooba Mufti had said that J&K has over 15 lakh unemployed youth.
Separatists have often asked people to desist from joining the forces. Hizbul Mujahideen operational commander Riyaz Naikoo had asked cops to leave jobs.
However after the latest face-off between militants and police which led to abductions of families of policemen, people say they may see a drop in number of people opting for police.
“I hope good sense will prevail and this issue would die down but because of the massive unemployment there can’t be a stop to police recruitment. However we may expect a drop in percentage of people in joining the forces,” Geelani said.