President meets women, children from JK

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New Delhi, Oct 19 (UNI) A 34-member strong delegation of women and children from the strife-torn state of Jammu and Kashmir today met President Devisingh Pratibha Patil at the Rashtrapati Bhawan here as part of the Army's Sadbhavana programme.

Ms Patil urged the group members to spread the message of the importance of education of the girl child when they returned home after the tour.

The President lauded the ladies belonging to Poonch, Naushara, Kalakote and Rajouri districts of J&K for venturing out of the violence-riven state for the first time to experience new things.

''It is a wonderful experience to learn more about things outside your hometown and tell your brethren about it,'' Ms Patil added.

The President also told the women to disseminate the knowledge of brotherhood and oneness among the people in the state.

The seven-day 39 MTN DIV Sadbhavana tour--led by two lady Army officers-- under the theme 'Nari Shakti Shanti Path Par'-- began on Wednesday from Rajouri.

Expressing happiness over meeting the President, Tazeem, who is working as a teacher in a boutique set up by the Army under Operation Sadbhavana, said: ''It's a dream come true for all of us to see you with us.'' Tazeem thanked the Army for its efforts and said besides organising out-of-state programmes, it has also set up schools and hospitals among other things for them.

Talking to UNI, Colonel Rajiv Singh said: ''The operation is aimed at providing succour to victims of terrorism in J&K and enable them to get a feel of other regions''.

Colonel Singh said the ladies have come out of their region for the first time and were surprised when they travelled by train.

The women and children will visit all the historical places here before moving to Ajmer and Jaipur.

UNI

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