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Jan 17, 2011 at 09:28am IST

Gallantry awards for Kashmiris in the army

Jammu: As the debate over the presence of the army and armed forces special powers act in Kashmir continues, there is a different side of the army in the valley. Army men from Kashmir who were awarded gallantry medals are setting a new example.

Lieutenant Mohammad Abbas, a resident of Kashmir's Anantnag district grew up in close proximity to gunfights and militancy. Nine years ago, he picked up the gun but for a different reason. Abbas joined the Army. As part of Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry, he was awarded the Sena medal on Army Day (January 15) for his seven-hour encounter with militants in Pulwama in 2009. But Abbas says for a Kashmiri joining the army is never easy.

“Initially, things were very difficult. My family was forced to stay outside Kashmir for 2-3 years,” said Lt Mohamamd Abbas.

Major Farid U Rehman, who also faced similar challenges, says he always wanted to join the army. His bravery in an encounter against a Lashkar commander in Reasi earned him a Sena medal. The soldier from Kupwara could well be settling an example for Kashmiri youth.

An act of gallantry doesn’t get diluted from the fact that you are from a particular area or state. I’ll feel glad if I have been able to set a standard at such an early stage in my life,” said Major Farid U Rehman.

Many jawans and officers from Kashmir have set a standard for bravery in Jammu on Army Day. Perhaps this is a side of the valley which seldom gets noticed.

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