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First cricket academy opens amid unrest in Indian Kashmir

STORY: India’s militancy-hit state of Jammu and Kashmir has got its first cricket academy since the country gained independence in 1947.

Amid frequent clashes between armed separatists and stone pelters with Indian security forces, the academy opened in capital city of Srinagar on Wednesday (May 10) and took in young cricket enthusiasts.

India where cricket is treated like a “religion”, an academy in this northern state was long overdue. However, it finally came into existence after receiving nod from the government, says Jammu and Kashmir Sports Council Secretary, Waheed Rehman Para.

The young sports council secretary hopes to turn this academy into a nursery that churns out cricketers for national and international levels.

Till now, only one cricketer, Parvez Rasool, from Jammu and Kashmir has made it to the country’s national side.

Since July last year, there has been a spike in violence on the Indian side of the disputed Kashmir region, when security forces killed a popular underground militant, Burhan Wani.

India accuses Pakistan of aiding militant groups, a charge Islamabad denies, but anger against Indian rule is widespread in the Muslim-majority region. The region is divided between India and Pakistan but claimed in full by both.

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