Children from Delhi government schools on Saturday who attended the Independence Day function at Red Fort had a tough day. They left their schools at 5 am or earlier and were given something to eat only after 9 am.
Soon after the kids left the venue, their teachers were seen queuing them up for distribution of refreshments – packaged juice, apples and bananas.
This breakfast after the I-Day event ended up being a hurried affair for some with security personnel urging teachers to be quick.
Teachers of Kalyanvas Sarvodaya Bal Vidyalaya in Mayur Vihar phase – 2, who were marshalling their students into the bus after the ceremony, claimed they had very little time to distribute the refreshments they had brought along.
“Yes, they will be given breakfast. The students were given bottled water earlier,” said Ajay, one of the teachers accompanying the Kalyanvas students. Students of the school told Deccan Herald that they were supposed to get breakfast only after getting back to their school.
Rishabh Verma, a student of the Rajkiya Sarvodaya Bal Vidyalaya No 2 in east Delhi’s Sharkarpur area, said: “We left for the venue at 5 in the morning. We were ferried to the venue in buses.”
He added that they were discouraged from bringing along their lunch boxes.
Schoolchilren who were let out of the venue little early were seen squatting in queues waiting for their teachers to hand over the food packets. They were supposed to eat while moving towards the buses.
Going by an official statement, students from at least 45 Delhi government schools attended the event.
The Independence Day ceremony on Saturday began at 6.20 am with a choir of patriotic songs by schoolchildren, who were dressed in white, green and saffron.
Padmini Singla, director of the Delhi government’s Directorate of Education, could not be reached for her comments despite several attempts.