Srinagar: Over 8,000 enthusiastic local youth on Saturday thronged an army recruitment rally at Manasbal Sainik School in north Kashmir's Ganderbal district.
Braving rain and sleet, the youth reached the recruitment venue early on Saturday morning not to miss their chance to join the Indian army.
"Recruitments are being held today for Srinagar and Anantnag districts and in the coming days we would also be holding recruitment rallies for the other districts in the Valley," said a recruiting official at the rally.
Carrying their testimonials in hand, the youth jostled with each other to make it to the rally.
"I have been waiting outside the gate since 5 am to join the rally," said Sajjad, 20, who had come to Manasbal, 34 kilometres north of summer capital Srinagar, from his south Kashmir Anantnag home.
Another youth Ishfaq, a graduate from Anantnag, said: "Joining the army has been a passion for me. There is a lot of unemployment here and the army can give me the chance to earn a decent living."
The enthusiasm of the local youth to look for a career in the army is a far cry from the past when Kashmiris shied away from joining the security forces in the Valley.
Breaking of the psychological barrier by the local youth who are looking for a career in the army and other security forces in the Valley is definitely a welcome development.
"As more and more locals join the army and other security forces here, the distance between the youth and the security forces would naturally start melting," said a police officer deployed to ensure smooth conduct at the rally.