Thousands of Kashmiri youth have in the past two weeks been queuing up for recruitment in the Border Security Force (BSF). For the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) also, the number of job-seekers is soaring.

Long queues are seen outside the Subsidiary Training Centre (STC) of the BSF at Humhama near Srinagar International Airport. For just 179 posts of BSF constables, the authorities have received thousands of applications in Baramulla, Kupwara, Bandipore, Anantnag and Srinagar. “It is difficult to deal with this situation as the youths are desperate to get into the force,” a BSF officer dealing with recruitments told The Hindu. They were surprised to see post-graduates and graduates applying for the position of constable.

At the Srinagar centre alone, over 3,000 applications were received of whom 800 were shortlisted for the interview. “Of the shortlisted applications, 15 were post-graduates and 35 graduates,” said the official. A similar number of applications were received at the other centres, though there were only 179 posts for the entire Valley, including the Ladakh region. Sources in the BSF said that every year a dedicated quota was being fixed for each State and only the residents of that particular State were eligible for applying for the posts. “If the posts are not filled, these are being carried forward to the next year,” a senior officer said.

Hobson's choice

Those applying for jobs in the BSF say that they do not have any option. “I am a graduate and I do not get any job. Where should I go?” asks Fayaz Ahmad from Beerwah Budgam. Similarly, Mohammad Ayub from Zewan said that he tried his luck “everywhere in the State government but could not get a job.”

“I have five sisters and my father is old. I have to support my family,” he said.

Most of the youths avoided replying to a question how they viewed this “quest for job” in the BSF or the CRPF in the backdrop of the recent unrest in the Valley where tens of thousands of people were at war with the same forces.

The CRPF also has received thousands of applications for recruitment in various categories and one process is currently on. CRPF spokesperson Prabhakar Tripathi told The Hindu that a drive was conducted for Scheduled Tribes recruits and one was in the general category. “The one which is going on is for tradesman,” he said.