Kalimpong, Sept. 29: A 25-member team of students from Jammu and Kashmir were hosted for two days by the army here as part of its Sadbhawna tour programme, providing the young minds an exposure to a world beyond their strife-torn state.
The students from Poonch, Rajouri, Reasi and Doda in the Valley were brought here by the Striking Lions Division of the army, headquartered at the Durpin hills, about 3km from the town. Most of the students are from Class IX to XII
“This is an educational-cum-motivational tour for these youngsters. The aim is to expose these fresh minds to the world outside the Valley,” said an army officer.
During the course of their stay that ended today, the students were taken to tourist hotspots in and around the town. They also interacted with the army officers and local people. “We are very grateful to the army for providing this opportunity to us. We have learned so many things from this tour. We can go back home and play a constructive role in our society,” said Altaf Hussein, a student.
Some among the students were victims of militancy that has been raging in Kashmir for two decades now. “I lost my mother to militants. Two of my brothers were also injured. We want the circle of violence to end as quickly as possible,” said Mohammed Rafiq, another student.
His friend Mohammed Yousuf said only a handful of people were engaged in violence. “There is not much disturbance now. A few created problem taking advantage of a weak political system.” The Class XII student said he wanted to join the IAS.
The students were introduced to the general-officer-commanding of the division Maj. Gen. B.K. Sharma today. They later left for Darjeeling. The students will also visit Sikkim before returning home.