Kashmiri students to start helpline for Marathi tourists

Sent to Pune to complete their school education nine years ago, 50 students from Kashmir are set to go back to their native place, with the resolve to put what they learned to use. The students have decided to start a helpline for Marathi tourists in Kashmir.

The students, who were sent to Pune by the then chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed when the valley was going through turbulent times, were admitted to Sarhad School where they opted for Marathi as one of the subjects.

Two of the students, Dilbar Khoja and Suraj Din Khan, both from the violence-ridden village of Doordpoora in Kupwara district, aced the subject in the SSC exams scoring 70% and 80% respectively.

With summer vacations approaching, the students, aged between 15 and 20 years, believe it’s time to pay their due to Maharashtra to express their gratitude for the treatment they received here.

“We have learnt Marathi well and plan to start a helpline to assist Maharashtrian tourists coming to the valley,” said first-year Arts student Aashiq Mushtaq Khan.

The group, comprising 40 boys and 10 girls, will form teams to assist tourists from different districts. Salim Raina, a Class 9 student originally from Ganderbal, wants to stay back in Pune but extend his help through phone calls.

“I will be in Class 10 next year, so I cannot go back to Kashmir. I plan to assist tourists by attending phone calls in Pune, our main centre for coordination,” said Raina.

Sanjay Nahar, founder president of Sarhad, said 105 Kashmiri students had arrived in Pune in 2004 to complete their education and return to their native land to work for the people.

“They not only adopted the local culture but also learned the local language really well. Now they say it’s time to pay Maharashtra back,” he said.


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