BENGALURU: What was supposed to be a normal day for hundreds of students from city schools turned into a nightmare as they were whisked away to take part in the birthday celebrations of MLA N A Haris at Police Hockey Ground opposite Garuda Mall on Thursday. Their ordeal did not end there. The MLA made them wait for more than two hours under the blazing sun before he finally made time to come and meet the by then exhausted children and treat them to lunch.
According to officials, the MLA had directed schools located in Shantinagar constituency to send their children. For those schools that refused to attend, transportation was arranged. Children were promised a free bag and lunch, both of which they got at the cost of wasting half their day waiting for Haris. While most children arrived at 10.30am, lunch was not served till after 1 pm when Haris arrived to distribute bags.
“If he wanted to donate bags to children, he should have come to the respective schools instead of making the kids come here,” an irate teacher, who did not want to be identified, said.
However, another teacher defended Haris and said that there was ‘nothing wrong’ in children participating in his birthday celebrations as they got ‘a school bag and lunch’. Around 5,000 bags were distributed.
What angered students was that they had no inkling about the day’s plan. “We all came to school like any other day and after an hour the teacher asked us to walk till the ground to witness the birthday celebration of the MLA,” a Class 6 student from a school in Jogupalya said.
Another student from Boston Public School, Neelasandra, said they were informed only in the morning assembly that they had to attend the function. “We were taken to the ground in vehicles but just had to sit there as the function was of no use to us.”
When contacted, Haris did not seem to see the problem in making children wait for his birthday party. “What is your problem? People come to wish me every year when I celebrate my birthday. Children came to wish me and I gave them bags as gifts,” he retorted. However, the MLA refused to answer if he had asked schools to bring their children to the ground or if they came of their own accord. When asked again, he disconnected the call.