A delegation of Pakistani students and their teachers were forced to cut short their visit to India amid Indian allegations that Pakistani troops had mutilated two Indian soldiers, a claim denied by Pakistan, reported Hindustan Times.
The 50-member delegation, comprising Pakistani students, their teachers and staffers, were sent back on Wednesday after the government advised their Indian host organisation against hosting them at a time which was not “appropriate”
The students were visiting India at the invitation of an NGO, Routes2Roots. The Delhi based NGO had invited 50 students from Pakistan as part of their student ‘Exchange for Change’ programme.
"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,” foreign ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said.
“They came to India on the same day when the barbaric and inhuman act of killing and mutilating our soldiers happened," he said.
The students were scheduled to go on a day-long trip to Agra on Wednesday and participate in an exchange of experiences with Indian students at the Pakistan Embassy in New Delhi a day later, added the Indian publication.
The NGO expressed regret over the return of the delegation and said that the trip had to be shortened and the students and teachers have returned 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 programmes which had to be cut short," Rakesh Gupta and Tina Vachani, founders of Routes2Roots, said in a statement.
“Keeping in view the security and sentiments of fellow Indians the delegation has been sent back to Lahore safely,” they added.
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, recalled the report.
“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.