From The Nepali Press
Too hot for kids
Samaya, 29 September
FROM ISSUE #268 (07 OCT 2005 - 13 OCT 2005) | TABLE OF CONTENTS
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While small schoolchildren were elbowing each other on the sidewalks in the scorching heat waiting for someone to give them water, the volunteers responsible for coordinating the royal visit to Birganj last month were drinking Real juice. The children had been waiting in the hot sun and were watching this with their parched throats and eyes swollen due to dehydration. They were made to skip classes, weren't given any food or water and had to stand in the sun for over five hours. All this because the organisers wanted to gather a big crowd to welcome the royal couple. Some of the children and a few women fainted due to heat stroke. Pravin Manandhar, chairman of the Parents Association of Parsa protested against the practice of forcing children as props for royal tours. "By making children stand in the heat, the organisers have mentally and physically tortured them," he said, adding, "these organisers have to be punished, can they do anything in the name of the king?" Coordinator of the committee entrusted with giving the king a tumultuous welcome, Sambhu Chaurasiya, said over 150 volunteers were on duty for the visit. "We never put pressure on the schools to make their students miss classes," Chaurasiya added. But the children were made to line up at 11AM even though the royal couple only arrived in Birganj at 3 PM. When the king and queen did arrive, they sped past waving at the children from inside the car.