For most of them, it was their first experience of travelling
beyond the 2.5-km-long Jawahar tunnel through the Pir Panjal
mountain range which links the Kashmir Valley with the rest of
And when 160 students, whose families have been affected by
militancy in the state, did, the journey beyond the tunnel and to
different parts of India was a trip of a lifetime.
The group of students, in the age group of 15 to 24, is on a home
ministry-sponsored trip "Mission Watan Ko Jano" that took them to
Gujarat, Maharashtra and Delhi.
On their way back, they met New and Renewable Energy Minister
Farooq Abdullah at his residence in the capital Thursday. And
during their brief stay in Delhi they will also be meeting Home
Minister P. Chidambaram at his North Block office Friday.
The minister called upon the young students from his state to
follow the path of "truth, righteousness and secularism".
Abdullah, the chief of the ruling National Conference in the
state, shared with them the progress India has made in the fields
of education, technology, sports, art and culture.
"He asked them to take advantage of the vast opportunities
available in the field of education and sports in the country,"
according to a statement from the minister's office.
His son and Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was
also present when the students were interacting with the senior
He laid special emphasis on energy saving and said it was
"important to conserve the natural resources for sustainable
Abdullah said such tours for Kashmiri youth, particularly affected
by militancy- related violence, help them in understanding the
world around them.
He hoped that more such programmes would be undertaken in future.
The students also narrated the experiences they had during their
visit to different parts of the country and vowed to contribute in
the progress of their state.