Barnala tells students' team from Jammu and Kashmir

Samuel Manjur, a class XI student, likes to play cricket. He has the same hopes and aspirations that anyone his age would have. He is from Ramban district of Jammu and Kashmir, which is about 75 km from Srinagar.

Samuel has never been to a museum or a zoo. There are no concrete roads in his hometown. He was part of a delegation of school students from Jammu who met Governor Surjit Singh Barnala here on Tuesday.

The visit is part of the Indian Army's ‘Operation Sadbhavana.' In the city, the children will visit art galleries, the Marina beach, Mahabalipuram and the Government Museum.

“We will take back the message of progress and development,” said Nawaz Ahmed Wani, one of the two schoolteachers, also from Ramban district, in the delegation. “Where we are… there are no basic facilities. We do not have water or electricity. Many schools are just empty buildings. There are no teachers,” he added. Attributing the recent spate of stone pelting incidents in the valley to “politics”, he said more children must start going to schools.

Recalling his meeting with Sheikh Abdullah, the first Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Mr. Barnala said: “I have very fond memories of my visit. Kashmir was like heaven on earth.” He asked the students to go back and “spread the message of friendship and harmony”. A 61 RR Captain M.Vijay Mohan said “These students are here to understand the cultural diversity of India.”