In the Valley, this Army officer heals with hugs

Col. Dharmendra Yadav embraces an Imam at Rainpora in Anantnag district during Operation ‘Calm Down’ of the Army.  

Blending its ''Operation Calm Down'' with ‘Jadoo ki Jhappi’ (magical hug), the Army is now foraying into the interiors of south Kashmir, giving semblance of law and order and building up confidence among the locals to open their establishments that have been shut for nearly three months.

At the break of dawn, Colonel Dharmendra Yadav, incharge of the most sensitive Anantnag district, takes out his jeep to take a round of his ‘Area of Responsibility’ or popularly known as AOR. He mingles with locals, interacts with them, especially the children.

Col. Yadav and his team are often greeted by the villagers and children while passing through. “No doubt they have restored some law and order in many areas of the district,” says Ghulam Mohiudden, a teacher. He was encouraged by the Army personnel to teach children in a makeshift school so that their education is not affected any further.

A resident of Gurgaon, Col. Yadav often meets the village elders and is seen greeted by an affectionate hug which he calls a ‘Jadoo ki Jhappi’.

“At times such colloquial terms do come handy for us to reach out to the civilians. I did watch Munnabhai MBBS some years back..the movie was a hit and so is the formula here,” he says as a group of children surround him.

Col. Yadav was part of a team of young Army officers involved in the encounter in Bumdoora village in which Burhan Wani and his two aides were killed. However, he refrains from sharing any details of the encounter, saying, “this was part of my duty and we don’t share operational details.”

Army, their goal too

The children who gather there call him “Army uncle”. “This is a name that I have not demanded but earned. Many of them want to become Army officers,” says Col. Yadav.

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