Sikhs help Kashmiri girls get back home safely

ST Correspondent
Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Bhola Singh Arora (51), resident of Camp along with city volunteers of Khalsa Aid helped 32 Kashmiri girls to reach Mumbai airport safely on August 8.

Pune: Bhola Singh Arora (51), resident of Camp along with city volunteers of Khalsa Aid helped 32 Kashmiri girls to reach Mumbai airport safely on August 8.

These girls belong to underprivileged families from areas like Shopian, Badgam, Sonmarg, Baramulla, Uri and Srinagar. They had come to Pune in the first week of August for training in nursing under the Skill India Programme - an initiative of Government of India - and were living in Yojana Nagar, Lohegaon.

“On August 8 at 5 pm, I got a call from my friend Baljit Singh Babbu from Delhi that there are Kashmiri girls in Pune who were unable to contact their parents in their hometowns after removal of Article 370. They had booked their air tickets and asked for help in reaching the airport safely,” said Bhola Singh Arora. He said, “When we met these girls, they were in a state of shock and panic as they were not able to connect with their families back home. They were in a bad state so we tried to counsel them first. We first escorted 14 girls to Pune airport and helped them safely check-in. Pune  volunteers of Khalsa Aid dropped the remaining 17 girls by taxi to Mumbai Airport.”

Both the flights were via New Delhi where Baljit Singh with other Sikh volunteers accompanied these girls to Kashmir. Baljit Singh Babbu, Delhi-based engineer, said, “One day before August 5 when the decision for abrogation of Article 370 was taken, one of my friends, Harmeet Singh Ahluwalia did a FB live and announced that if there are Kashmiris in other parts of the world who need help, they can connect with us. We helped Kashmiris during the Pulwama attack.”

He said, “On August 8, Rukya Kirmani, main coordinator for this group of girls connected with us and asked for help. We booked air tickets for these girls and connected with my local friend Bhola Singh Arora for assistance.”

“We accompanied these girls from Delhi and helped them reach their hometowns safely. After we reached Srinagar, the Army helped us by providing vehicles to these girls and also accompanied us to some of the places,” added Baljit Singh Babbu.

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