25 Kashmir elders return to ''dark,cold nights'' after Watan-ki-Sair

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Srinagar, Oct 30 (UNI) A group of 25 Kashmiri elders have returned to ''cold and dark nights and muddy roads'' in their remote and far -flung villages in the frontier district of Kupwara after their dream tour to different states.

'Watan-ki-Sair'' was organised by the Army under operation Sadbhavana for the elders, a majority of whom had not travelled beyond Srinagar city in their life time.

A senior Army officer said after organising such tours for students of different schools in remote and far flung areas in the Kashmir valley, it was decided to expose the village elders to the rich and diverse culture and secular heritage of our country.

As many as 20 men and five women from the frontier district of Kupwara, once a hub of militants, took part in the 13-day tour which also provided them an opportunity to interact with top Army and civil dignitaries.

They said they crossed the Jawahar tunnel for the first time.

''It was a totally different world on the other side for us,'' they said, marvelling at warm weather, good roads and 24-hour electricity.

The tour was flagged off on October 18, he said, adding the participants returned only last evening.

They also visited Jama Masjid, Red Fort, Qutub Minar, Lotus Temple, Dargah of Hazarat Nizamuddin, Rajghat, India Gate, Mughal Gardens and Rashtrapati Bhawan in Delhi.

The participants had an opportunity to pay obeistance at the holy Dargah sharif at Ajmer. While in Agra, they visited the Taj Mahal and Fateh-Pur-Sikri.

''Back in our homes, it will be cold and dark nights and muddy roads again,'' they said.

UNI BAS RR RL HT1452

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