There was no curfew, no raids, no sound of gunfire which echoed in their hearts, no stone-throwing and no fear to walk out in the open. For a group of girls from Kashmir, this was perhaps once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the country they love the most.
The children were in the city as part of a pan-India tour — Bharat Darshan — organised by the Border Security Force (BSF). On Monday morning, they called upon the city police commissioner.
Earlier, they had visited Mysore, Lalbagh and the Maharaja’s Palace.
Top cop Shankar M Bidari extended them a warm welcome. The girls treated the police to folk songs and concluded the brief cultural programme with a song that described the country: “Saare jahan se achaa...”
“This is the first time that we are taking girls on a tour. We are happy that their parents sent the children with us,” said deputy superintendent of police BB Hosamani.
Two groups embarked on the trip on January 7. One group has 18 girls, while the other has 20 boys, all from remote places of Jammu & Kashmir. The groups are travelling separately.
The national integration tour is meant to introduce the children to the diverse culture and landscapes of the country. Later in the day, they toured the city. On Tuesday they will leave for Delhi, Ajmer, Jaipur, Ahmedabad and Agra.