Thousands of young men have turned up for an Army recruitment drive in Jammu and Kashmir despite widespread curbs imposed in the valley by security forces.
The recruitment drive that started on September 3 is being held on the outskirts of Reasi town. It will end on Monday.
As per Army sources, more than 29,000 men have registered for the recruitment drive so far.
The men are aged between 17 and 21 years and have been travelling to the selection venue from various districts of the state.
The Army recruitment drive comes as the valley continues to be under unprecedented security cover since August 5 when the special status to Jammu and Kashmir was withdrawn and the state was divided into two Union Territories.
According to Army sources, several Pakistan-backed terrorist groups have been targeting the state's youth aged between 17 and 21 years for recruitment.
Officials said the candidates appearing in the Reasi recruitment drive were not only driven by passion but have expressed desire to selflessly serve their motherland if given an opportunity.
"It was a passion, dream and goal since my childhood to join the Armed Forces. That's the reason I am here," said a candidate.
As per officials, the men who have registered belong to seven districts of Jammu and Kashmir -- Kishtwar, Doda, Ramban, Udhampur, Reasi, Rajouri and Poonch.
Those who successfully clear the physical and medical tests will be sent to various regimental centres and Army establishments for training.
After the completion of training, the men will be recruited as general or technical soldiers and nursing assistants or tradesmen in any formation of the Army.
"The notification for this recruitment drive had been issued around three months ago. But the last date for application was extended till August 23. The extension was placed to avoid inconveniences to aspiring candidates owing to curbs and restrictions placed on Internet and other channels of communication after August 5. The registration just kept on flooding till the last date," a senior Army official told IANS.
The district administration of Reasi has provided adequate support to the Army for conducting this huge recruitment drive.
Paramilitary forces, barricades and mobile toilets have been provided for the drive, which has been organised by the Counter-Insurgency Force (Uniform) with logistics support from the Rashtriya Rifles.
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