Around 50 Pakistani students, visiting India at the invitation of an NGO, were sent back today after the government advised it against hosting them at a time which was not “appropriate” in the aftermath of the beheading of two Indian soldiers. “An NGO had invited Pakistani school students here. They came to India on the same day when the barbaric and inhuman act of killing and mutilating our soldiers happened. “The ministry advised the NGO that it was not an appropriate time for such exchanges after we learnt that the children had crossed over to India on May 1,” Gopal Baglay, a spokesperson of the MEA, said. Routes2Roots, a Delhi-based NGO, had invited 50 students from Pakistan as part of their Student ‘Exchange for Change’ Program.
The students from Pakistan were scheduled to go on a day-long trip to Agra today and participate in an exchange of experiences with Indian students tomorrow at the Pakistan Embassy here. Expressing regret over the return of the delegation, Routes2Roots said that the trip had to be shortened and the students and teachers have been sent back to Lahore. “Around 50 students aged between 11-15 years along with their teachers arrived in Delhi from Pakistan on May 1 and were supposed to meet their Indian pen friends and hosts of other programs which had to be cut short. “Keeping in view the security and sentiments of fellow Indians the delegation has been sent back to Lahore safely,” Rakesh Gupta and Tina Vachani, founders of Routes2Roots, said in a statement.
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In October last year, a similar programme by the NGO was cancelled after the announcement of surgical strike by India along the LoC in September.”Even then as a precautionary measure we cancelled the
exchange programme and now the same thing has recurred. If things go well, we will again bring the students, possibly within a month or two,” Rakesh told PTI.