Srinagar, Aug.4 : Over 20 children from the tribal community of Bakarwal Gujjars will soon meet President Pratibha Devisingh Patil at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in the national capital as part of their educational tour.
The Indian Army has selected these children for the 18-day Sadbhavna Yatra (goodwill- cum-educational tour), which will enable them to venture outside the Jammu and Kashmir state for the first time.
Bakarwals are nomads of Jammu and Kashmir whose sole means of livelihood is rearing livestock of sheep.
The group started off its tour from Srinagar on Friday (Aug.1). This tour includes visiting different states in north India and experiencing the diverse colourful culture of India.
The group, which includes four elderly members who are accompanying the kids as guardians, is scheduled to meet the President on August 9 at 6.00 p.m at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
"These 20 children have come from areas like Poonch, Rajouri, Jammu and Srinagar. They are here since June and will leave by September or October. They will see how the country is progressing and will also visit Karnal Dairy to see the development in dairy sector. They will also meet the President and senior officers in Army . They would have been developed when they return back," said Colonel J. P. Singh, Commanding Officer, VIII Infantry.
Elated for being on the tour, Nissar Ahmed, a Bakarwal child said: "We gain a lot from such goodwill operations because our knowledge will increase. The Indian Army is doing a lot for our education."
"We are feeling really good, because we are going on this tour. We will learn a lot, meet new people and see new places. We will get some knowledge out of this and see how thing are developing," said Altaf Hussain, another Bakarwal Gujjar child.
The expectations of the children were writ large in their eyes. By Parvez Butt