The first girls' football team of Kashmir has been practising in Srinagar despite restrictions
Just a month ago some Kashmiri girls hit headlines by throwing stones at police vans in Srinagar but these football loving girls are determined to change that and pursue their dreams despite all odds.
The first girls' football team of Kashmir has been practising in Srinagar despite restrictions and curfews, the under 19 players will soon be playing with teams from other states.
"If just five girls go out for stone pelting, it gives an impression that the entire Kothibagh school is involved in stone pelting, but all girls don't have such a thinking," said Himran, a class 12 Student.
21-year-old Afshan Ashiq, who is coaching these girls, two years ago became the first woman from Kashmir to play for the Jammu and Kashmir team at the national level. That time there were no takers, no coaches, no infrastructure and just no motivation, but not anymore, she says claiming that there is a sudden surge of young women from Kashmir wanting to become footballers.
"When I started myself I struggled a lot, my father didn't agree to my playing football, but slowly he realised that it is my passion to play and make a career in football," she said.
"In Kashmir it is very difficult for a player and especially a girl to come out of home," said Meerukh a player in football team.
This is a part of 'Oorja' football training organised by the Central Reserve Police Force or CRPF. Jammu is the next stop for girls to compete with teams from other states.
"They are doing very well, there is lot of enthusiasm, they want to do something, they want to excel in sports, one example that despite the restrictions they came out from their homes," said Ravideep Sahi, IG CRPF, Srinagar Circle.