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Srinagar: A 26-year-old tribal engineer-turned-activist has earned a rare honor by becoming the first youth from Jammu and Kashmir to speak at `JOSH TALKS’.

Guftar Ahmed Choudhary of Mohra, Kotranka in Rajouri district was the only invitee from Jammu and Kashmir in 2020. Earlier, it has hosted several personalities from Jammu and Kashmir including Ramon Magsaysay Award winner Sonam Wangchuk from Ladakh and senior IPS officer Sandeep Chaudhary.

Seemingly an Indian avatar of TED Talks, JOSH TALKS hosts content in nine languages and was awarded by the president in 2018.  JOSH TALKS gives people access to the right role models and inspire many people.

“It was an honor for me to speak at JOSH TALKS. It is such a big platform where so many top celebrities, activists, and others have spoken about their struggles, inspirations, successes, and failures. For me, it was a dream come true,” he said.

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Coming for a family of teachers, Guftar Ahmed completed B.Tech before pursuing Law from Jammu University. From his student days, he was vocal against injustice and has been at the forefront of demanding rights for the marginalized community.

“I gave an overview of my works. This is a platform that inspires many youngsters. I shared my experience. This will help many people. There is also a live audience that asks questions. I too was asked questions,” he said.

Post-COVID lockdown, Guftar has been at the forefront of providing relief to the marginalized communities. More than 500 people living in far-flung areas of Pir Panjal were provided ration kits by him since March.

Last month, Guftar has been at the forefront of justice for three missing laborers of Rajouri. In fact, he was the man who highlighted the plight on social media prompting the authorities to order a probe. 

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Abrar Ahmad Khan (15) son of Bagga Khan, his relative Abrar Ahmad (25) son of Mohammad Yusuf, and Imtiyaz Ahmad (20) son of Sabr Hussain, all residents of Peeri, Kotranka in Rajouri district, disappeared after they left home on July 16 to work as daily-wage laborers in south Kashmir’s Shopian district.

Over two weeks later, the families of the trio were shocked to see the purported picture of three alleged militants killed in an encounter at Amshipora village in the Shopian district on July 18. 

The bodies bore a stark resemblance to two of the missing laborers–the 15 year-old-Abrar and the older Abrar. A third body in the picture is placed facedown with clothes pulled up over his head. Bullet marks can be clearly seen on the back of the third body.

Jammu and Kashmir police decided to match the DNA of alleged militants killed in Shopian with the families of three missing Rajouri laborers. However, the reports are still awaited.

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