A youth from West Bengal, who had set off on a world tour on bicycle to spread AIDS Awareness, reached here three days ago.
Somen Debnath from West Bengal’s Sunderban reached here under his mission and had visited Kargil, Leh, Ganderbal and parts of Srinagar to campaign against the dreaded disease.
Talking about AIDS in Jammu and Kashmir, the 24-year-old PhD scholar said, “During my interaction, I found people here are simple and religious minded and are aware of the ill-effects of illicit relations and that is why there are less HIV infected patients in the state compared to other states.” During his trip to Ladakh, Somen also trekked the highest motorable road in the world when he crossed 18,000 feet high Khardungla pass on bicycle.
Somen said he was moved by an AIDS related death in his neighbourhood 10 years ago and decided to go round the globe for HIV/AIDS awareness programme.
“I kicked off my journey on a bicycle on May 27, 2004 from my native village with just Rs 600 in the pocket,” he said.
Somen claimed that so far he had visited five countries so far, including Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Myanmar.
He has toured 27 states and five u nion territories of the country and is in Kashmir for the past three days, from here he will leave for Punjab. He intends to enter Pakistan via Wagah border in November.
Aiming to complete his mission by 2020, Somen will tour 32 countries by flight and 28 nations by ship and the bicycle will be all along with me, he said.