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First batch of Kashmiris join army
May 19, 2004 14:58 IST
The first batch of Kashmiri youth, recruited in Home and Hearth battalions, took oath to serve the country at a passing-out parade in Pulwama district on Tuesday.
Nearly 2,700 recruits, including some former terrorists, took part in the ceremony organised by the Corps Battle School at Khrew.
Chief of staff of 15 Corps, Major General A K Chopra, congratulated the recruits. "Wherever you go, you must instil confidence in fellows around you and look after the awam (people). Be kind and helpful to serve the masses of Kashmir, as is the tradition of Indian Army," he said.
"We are happy to come out of that mess and are proud to become disciplined soldiers," a former terrorist said, urging other terrorists to shun violence.
The Home and Hearth battalions are the brainchild of chief of army staff General N C Vij, providing employment to thousands of youth and also helping to effectively counter terrorist activities in Kashmir.