In an embarrassing situation for the J&K government, a group of 30 young girl students were allegedly made to wait for several hours at the airport in Srinagar in extreme cold on Sunday morning, as they were brought for a function to be presided over by chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.
A group of 30 seven-year-old girl students were brought to the Srinagar airport for a function of the state Tourism department at 7.30 am.
However, the official timing of the function was listed at 10.30 am.
Sayeed arrived at the venue of the function at around 11.15 am, only to head for his residence as the helicopter to be used in the inauguration ceremony of the heli-service for tourism had not arrived from Jammu.
The delay further compounded the problems of the girls, hailing from a private school in Eidgah area of the Old City, who were not even given refreshments.
“We didn’t have breakfast and we have not been provided anything to eat by the organisers here as well,” one of the students told.
The students, wearing their school uniforms with the colourful pherans (traditional Kashmiri cloak), said there were no heating arrangements either.
“If I knew we will have to suffer this much, I would have not come for this function,” said another girl.
A teacher, accompanying the students, said that she had no role to play in the whole episode.
“It was the decision of the school management and we are only following the instructions,” she said.
Many people present, including media persons, took to social media to criticise the administration for putting the students through a harrowing experience.
As media protested against the condition of the hapless students, the event management company distributed juice packets and sandwiches among them.
Secretary tourism department Farooq Ahmad Shah said adequate arrangements had been made for the students and they would be provided refreshment in due course.
“They will be provided refreshment if they have not been provided already,” Shah said but refused to comment on the necessity of bringing the children to an official function in such a harsh weather on a holiday.
The students’ tribulation ended nearly seven hours later as the chief minister arrived at the venue around 1.00 pm and the function got underway.