DW BUREAU / CHANDIGARH
It was a poignant moment for the Kashmiri students in Punjab. They had expected to be celebrating Eid-ul-Adha alone this year, since they could not go to their families in the Valley due to the prevailing situation, but were in for a pleasant surprise. The invitation from Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh for lunch at Punjab Bhavan made it an occasion to cherish, and to feel at home.
Around 125 students from various universities of Punjab had a taste of the love that the Chief Minister, along with several of his cabinet colleagues, decided to shower on them to mark their auspicious festival.
Assuring them that he was confident things would improve soon in Kashmir, the Chief Minister greeted the youngsters with best wishes for normalcy soon. “We cannot replace your families but I hope you consider us as your family too,” he told the students, assuring them of their safety and security in Punjab.
Though he had not been to Kashmir for a long time due to his busy political schedule, he considered the beautiful Valley his second home, said Captain Amarinder, adding, it was his heartfelt desire to share the happiness of this festival with the students. He reassured the that he was confident their families back home would also be well and safe, and they would be able to meet soon.
Reciprocating the Chief Minister’s sentiments, the students said they too considered Punjab their second home, where they had always felt safe, even after the Pulwama attack. “We have seen that Punjabis have a big heart,” quipped a student, Faiq Salem, while another thanked Captain Amarinder for hearing their voice.
“Coming here today reminds us of our families,” said Farzana Hafeez, another student, admitting that till they received the invitation, they had been feeling very lonely at the thought of not being home for Eid. As a memento of their love and respect, the students presented to the Chief Minister a portrait sketched by Abdul Azad, a Fine Arts Kashmiri student from Chandigarh University. Captain Amarinder gave sweets to the students to celebrate the occasion.
Kashmiri students of Chandigarh University, Gharuan; CGC Jhanjheri and Landran, Chitkara University, SVIET University Banur, CT University Ludhiana, Lovely University and SWIFT College Rajpura attended the event.
Others who were present during the interaction included Cabinet Ministers Brahm Mohindra and Balbir Singh Sidhu, CM’s Media Advisor Raveen Thukral, Advisor to CM BIS Chahal, Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh, DGP Dinkar Gupta, DGP Intelligence VK Bhawra, Special Principal Secretary to CM Gurkirat Kirpal Singh, Political Secretary to CM Sandeep Sandhu, and OSD to CM Jagdeep Singh Sidhu.