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Army gets first Muslim Major General from Kashmir

3 Apr 2008

M Saleem Pandit

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SRINAGAR: Ever since Jammu & Kashmir became part of India, there has never been a Kashmiri Muslim general in the Army. This has now been remedied.

With the elevation of Brigadier Mohammad Amin Naik to the post of Major General, Kashmiris, who have historically felt alienated from the mainstream, would now have one grievance less.

Commissioned into the Corps of Engineers on December 22, 1974, from the Indian Military Academy, Major General Naik was decorated with the Sena Medal for exemplary service in 1993. But that's not the only metal glistening on the mantle: With equal pride is displayed the bronze he won for India at the 1982 Asiad for coxless-4 — a rowing event.

Add to this, eight golds, one silver and a bronze at national championships, apart from two golds, one silver and a bronze in a series of prestigious international rowing meets, you have the picture of a winner all the way.

Not surprisingly, General Naik also has the Arjuna Award in his rich haul of medals and accomplishments.

His father Ghulam Nabi Naik, a retired divisional commissioner, J&K, says, "I am thrilled to learn that my son has achieved the distinction of becoming Major General of the Indian Army." Recalling General Naik's childhood, the father said, "Amin was always enthusiastic and wanted to serve the nation and humanity."

Said the General's sister, Doctor Shamim Naik, "He has made us proud. It's a happy moment not just for the family but for all Kashmiri Muslims who feel neglected. We will celebrate the promotion of my brother and invite him home." Elder brother Gul Mohammed Naik, a retired forest officer, said, "I would like to hug and kiss my Major General Amin who has made our chests swell with pride."

Born on September 25, 1953, at Tral in Pulwama district of South Kashmir, General Naik has another "first" to his credit: He was the first to join the army from the entire district. He is currently posted with Integrated Defence Staff Headquarters as its assistant chief.

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