KERALA

A tryst with `God's own country'

Staff Reporter

A five-day visit to the capital city is proving to be an enjoyable experience for 28 students from Uri in Jammu and Kashmir.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A group of 28 students from Government Girls' Higher Secondary School, Uri, Baramulla district of Jammu & Kashmir, who are on a five-day visit to Thiruvananthapuram as part of Operation Sadhbhavana, called on Governor R.L. Bhatia at the Raj Bhavan on Saturday morning.

The students hail from remote places along the Line Of Control. They left Uri for Thiruvananthapuram by train on February 11. For many of them, this was their first trip on a train.

Operation Sadhbavana is to familiarise students from Jammu & Kashmir with life elsewhere in the country.

Salma Mohi-ud-din Mallik, a student of Class X told The Hindu that she asked the Governor how she could become a noted personality like him. "The Governor told us that we have to work hard in life to succeed. It was quite a thrilling experience to have met the Governor himself," she said.

The group later visited the Assembly complex, where they were shown the floor of the House and various rooms used by Ministers and members of the Opposition. "This is the first time that we are going inside an Assembly building. Back in Jammu & Kashmir, we have seen the Assembly building only on television," Ms. Mallik added.

The group also visited the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre on Saturday morning. "We went around the space centre and spoke to the scientists there," said Aumroo Saleem, "It was quite a thrilling experience."

On February 18, the group will leave for Kanyakumari. The students will leave Thiruvananthapuram on February 19.

On their way to Jammu & Kashmir, they will visit Agra and New Delhi.

"We are so happy that the Indian Army organised this trip for us. We are enjoying this stay here in Thiruvananthapuram. In fact, I want to go back home and ask my parents to allow me to come and stay here for a month or two," Ms. Mallik added.

The group is staying at the Army station at Pangode. A campfire and cultural programme showcasing the traditions of Kerala will be organised for these students.