Senior citizens from remote areas back after tour to India

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Srinagar, Nov 27 (UNI) After touring across the country to visit religious, historic and tourist places for the first time in their lives, a group of 40 senior citizens from remote and far flung areas of north Kashmir, are back to dark nights, muddy roads and winter chill.

''We have never thought of visiting beyond Srinagar that too free of cost,'' said one of the senior citizens, who were taken on motivational tour by the Army under operation Sadbhavana to different parts of the country.

Several of them have not even travelled beyond Kupwara town. The citizens were taken to entirely different world where the roads are very wide and clean, they said, adding the weather was very warm for them from Jammu onwards.

''We have not come across any power failure during our entire 17-day tour. Our areas had received heavy snowfall and are also closed with minus temperature,'' majority of them said.

They have never thought of such wonderful cities and places. Many of them got a chance to cross the Jawahar Tunnel on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway for the first time in their lives.

''We visited the historic Jama Masjid, Red Fort, Qutub Minar, Lotus Temple, Dargah of Hazarat Nizamuddin, Rajghat, India Gate, Mughal Gardens and Rashtrapati Bhavan in Delhi,'' they said, adding ''We had also an opportunity to seek blessings at the holy Dargah Sharif in Ajmer.'' ''We visited one of the seven wonders of the world Taj Mahal and Fathepur-Sikri in Agra,'' a senior citizen said.

A Defence Ministry spokesman said as a part of Army's constant endeavour to assist in integration of local population into the mainstream, a motivational tour for senior citizens of remote area of Machhal in Kupwara district was organised by Army.

The tour helped the senior citizens to know about the rich cultural heritage, democratic and secular nature of the country.

It also provided them an opportunity to interact with important army and civil dignitaries.

The tour was flagged off on November 10 from Kupwara and the group returned here yesterday from Jammu.

UNI BAS ASM SW KN1510

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