Operation Sadbhavna: 30 girls from J-K visit city

Thirty girl students from insurgency-affected areas of Kishtwar district in Jammu and Kashmir were in Chandigarh on Monday as a part of an educational cum motivational tour, 'Firdaus Watan-5', organised under 'Operation Sadbhavna', an initiative of the 17 Rashtriya Rifles Battalion of the Indian Army.

The girls, who visited the Sukhna Lake, Rock Garden and Panjab University on the first day of their two-day visit to Chandigarh, were looking forward to seeing the Rose Garden, Doll Museum and Pinjore Garden on Tuesday. "It feels amazing to be here as it is the first time that I have stepped out of Kishtwar and that too, to see the City Beautiful," said Goldy Devi, a student of Government Girls Higher Secondary School, Gulabgarh who even ranked Chandigarh as the second most beautiful place in the world after Kashmir.

Similar tours have been organised by the Army for senior citizens and boys during the last 10 years. This time, the girl students of the region have been given such a chance. Expressing her immense joy over the opportunity that she has received, Anju Bala Thakur, a student of Government Senior Secondary School, Padder said, "I feel extremely happy and lucky to be here as I was never allowed to go out of my home which is in Padder but due to this initiative of the Indian Army, I will be taking back many memories with me."

On being asked about her parents' reactions on the tour, Rifatnaz, a student of Government Higher Secondary School, Daccham said, "My parents were initially opposed to the idea of sending me on the tour but when the Army officials convinced them about our security, they agreed." The girls, who were extremely excited about seeing the Golden Temple, will leave for Amritsar on February 6.

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