The Indian Army has helped the 'deaf and mute' residents of Dadhkai hamlet in Jammu and Kashmir's Doda district to come out of their picturesque village and participate in a snow carnival for the first time ever.
The move comes days after the Army's Rashtriya Rifles adopted the village to ensure the holistic development of the tribal people. Located 105 km from Bhaderwah town, around 105 families reside in this mountainous village, among which 55 families mysteriously have at least one person who can neither speak nor hear. According to the officials, there are 78 such people in the area, of which 41 are women and 30 children between three to 15 years of age.
In a first, 30 deaf and mute villagers travelled nearly 137 km away from their area and enjoyed the snow carnival, the officials stated. They said the villagers took part in several activities, including snow sledging, skiing, tube slides, snow trekking, and tug of war, News18 reported.
Adopted Village In 'Letter And Spirit'
Bhalessa Block Development Council chairman Mohammed Hanief has three family members who can neither hear nor speak. The Dadhkai resident said with this initiative, the Army has proved that it has adopted the village in letter and spirit.
"It's only the Army that thinks about the welfare of all sections of the society without any discrimination," Dedarr, who was accompanying the villagers, said.
"To bring these specially-abled people to participate in a snow carnival is an appreciable step by Army, for which we will remain indebted to them," Hanief said, adding they took up a cause that all governments neglected.
Overwhelmed by the outing, 45-year-old Reham Ali Khatana, a villager, expressed gratitude to the Army through gestures and sign language. A Rashtriya Rifles officer, the nodal officer of the event, said their visit to the snow carnival was the highlight of the three-day festival.
"Seeing their excitement while participating in various activities made us proud," he said.
Bhaderwah Development Authority, Rashtriya Rifles and Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering jointly organised the carnival to boost tourism in the region, which was severely hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic.