Commuters were taken by surprise as traffic near the Delhi University (DU) was halted for a good 10 minutes Tuesday morning. But as students jogged past the queuing cars for their peace run, no one seemed to mind the wait.
More than 800 boys and 400 girls took part in the Peace and Harmony Run organised by the National Campaign for Combatting Terrorism (NCCT), an initiative of the Delhi University Students Union (DUSU) and others.
The run, which was flagged off by Olympians Sushil Kumar and Akhil Kumar, was the first of a list of events slated to be organised in the coming days is an effort to promote peace.
"This initiative to mobilise the youth to come together in order to spread awareness and fight terrorism is under the guidance of our former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. The fact that so many students turned up for the run is a clear sign that the youth believes in the initiative," Priyanka Sharma, a student of Kalindi college and a member of NCCT, told IANS.
The run that began at 9 a.m. saw girls running a stretch of 3.5 km while the boys ran 5.5 km around the campus in north Delhi.
"People have a tendency to undermine the youth. But today when so many of us came together for a common cause, it felt great... it felt like yes, we can bring about a change," said Ravi Sharma, a student of Ramjas college, who took part in the run.
The campus wore a festive mood as scores of youngsters like Sharma, and even some school children, took part in the run. Adding colour to the campus were miniatures of the national flag hung everywhere.
The run also saw the presence of some Bollywood actors like Raima Sen and Randeep Hooda who had come to flag off the initiative.
Besides the run for peace, the NCCT has a bilingual theatre festival, debate competition, a music festival and a seminar lined up in its itinerary for the next few weeks. Social networking sites, pamphlet distribution and word of mouth have been the main mediums of advertising the campaign.