A year after his son, Rifleman Aurangzeb, was abducted and later killed by militants in Kashmir, Mohammad Haneef on Monday saw two other sons getting enrolled into the Territorial Army as soldiers at an event in Palma, in the border district of Rajouri.
The siblings, Mohammad Tariq and Mohammad Shabir, were among 100 recruits selected from among 11,000 people who participated in the recruitment rally conducted at Surankote in March this year.
Haneef and wife Raj Begum were present when the brothers donned the olive-green uniform.
Haneef, whose eldest son Mohammad Qasim is also in the Army, said, “I am a proud father today, as two more of my sons have joined the forces. One who is born has to die some day, and what can be bigger than sacrificing your life for your motherland?”
He added, “Even our religion tells us to die for the nation.”
Aurangzeb, a soldier posted with 44 Rashtriya Rifles, was abducted and killed by militants in Shopian district in July 2018 when he was headed home, in adjoining Poonch district, to celebrate Eid with the family. He was awarded the Shaurya Chakra posthumously.
Reacting to his son’s killing, Haneef had said, “I had got him recruited in the Army to serve the nation. A soldier’s job is to kill the enemy or get killed.”
Haneef had also asked other people not to stop sending their children to the Army because otherwise there will be no one left to fight for the country.
Defence Ministry spokesperson Lt Col Devender Anand here described the enrolment parade as a unique initiative of 156 Infantry Battalion of Territorial Army (Home & Hearth), Punjab, of Indian Army. Pointing out that most recruits come from humble backgrounds, he said six are graduates, 76 have cleared Class XII, and the rest cleared Class X.
General Officer Commanding of Counterinsurgency Force (Romeo) Maj Gen Paramdeep Singh Bajwa, who was chief guest on the occasion, applauded efforts of the new recruits in putting up a grand show and congratulated their parents and village elders present there. During an informal interaction, parents and village heads expressed that the local youth are very keen on joining the Home & Hearth Battalion and the Army is fast becoming the most preferred option among locals.