The Indian army had launched their flagship civilian outreach program, Operation Sadbhavna in the valley in 1998. The objective of the military’s civic action initiative was to give Kashmir a healing touch, eradicating insurgency by winning the hearts and minds of the local population. Sadbhavna, since the inception of Sdbhavna over two decades ago, The Indian army has launched several successful civilian aid programs. Thes military outreach initiatives have done their best to counter venomous insurgent propaganda. To change public perception about the military being an occupying force. Lastly and perhaps most importantly make the lives of civilians simpler in a militancy prone environment.
Here is a glimpse of some of the army’s aid programs in the valley in the past two years
Army’s Super 30 gets Kashmiri youth into IIT’s
Indian Army started their second batch of Super-30, an initiative to provide free coaching to youths.”It is an Indian Army, NEIDO and HPCL initiative, an initiative to provide them with the chance to hone their skills,” says Chinar Corps Commander Lt Gen KJS Dhillon. Students appearing for medical entrance exams like MBBS, AIIMS and NEET will get an opportunity to study in this educational centre. Under this initiative, the students will get coaching and guidance for a period of twelve months for entrance examinations of various Medical Colleges spread across India.
The Indian army spearheaded several relief activities following the historic repeal of article 370 of the Indian Constitution. Indian soldiers were hard at work to establish communication centres in J&K amidst a massive communication blockade by the centre. The communication centres set up by the army eased communication gaps between the local Kashmiri’s and their friends and families in the mainland during such one of contemporary India’s most challenging decisions. Indian soldiers further assisted the locals by providing essential medical services and other necessities.
The Army launched a medical camp in the memory of a martyr
Earlier this year, the army held a multi-speciality medical camp in memory of Naib Subedar Chinni Lal, an army soldier who laid down his life in the line of duty in J&K. Twenty doctors and six multi specialists for the Army Medical Corps (MC) and the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Narayana Super Speciality Hospital, provided medical aid to 3,000 Kashmiri locals from the Doda district.
“We are grateful to the Indian army for organising such a camp for us here, and we hope the force will continue the noble deed of helping the poor and needy is such far-flung districts such as Doda, where there is gross shortage of medical facilities,” says Mohammed Akbar Gujjar, a resident of the Dooru-Sartingal village.
Army distributed books and sports equipment to militancy affected orphans
The Indian army distributed books and sports equipment to the Amphalla orphanage. The children were orphaned as a result of militant violence in the valley.
Civic infrastructure and sanitation
Under operation Sadbhavna the army had recently conducted bricklaying around a local pond in the Rajpura Kaular village, they even constructed a community hall adjacent to the lake. The military has also built several bathrooms for women in remote areas keeping in mind female hygiene. In an effort to promote sports to channelise energy amongst the youth in the valley, the civic action projects have also aimed at creating world-class sporting facilities. Most recently the Indian army inaugurated a basketball court and the Government Highschool in Madana, located at the border area of the Poonch district.
A helping hand
The Indian army, apart from its regular counter-insurgency functions, has strived to do their part in making a positive change in the lives of the people who are caught in between the crossfire. Today countless youngsters from the valley are eminent jurists, engineers, doctors, civil servants in part due to the educational and skill development programs organised by the fighting force. The army has always been there for the people of Kashmir, be it in a natural disaster and routine life.