13-year-old girls travel to Seoul to meet their BTS idols, found in Vellore

13-year-old girls, enrolled in Class 8 at a state-run school, all ardent supporters of the immensely popular Korean pop group BTS, decided to travel to Seoul, the country's capital, to meet their idols.

Attention India
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Three schoolgirls from a peaceful village in the Karur area could never have thought that their love of dance and music would one day inspire them to attempt an impossible journey to a foreign nation on the far side of the border using just their limited resources and no passports. Three schoolgirls from South Korea who ran away to meet BTS were discovered in Vellore. The teenage girls were hoping to see the well-known Korean pop group in Seoul.

“They took a firm decision to somehow meet the BTS stars and shortlisted the seaports of Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu and Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh to take a ship to South Korea and they eventually chose Visakhapatnam,” a Child Welfare Committee official told PTI.

They fled their homes quietly on January 4

On January 4, the girls silently left their houses and traveled by train from Erode, a town close to Karur, to Chennai. Parents filed a report with Karur police after the girls failed to return home, and the police notified law enforcement agencies throughout the state and initiated searches.

The teens thought they could still make it even though they only had roughly ₹ 14,000 in funds between them. They were told they could board a ship to Seoul without a passport after they had trouble getting a room in a hotel in Chennai on Thursday night. They were dragged from pillar to post on Friday in their desperate attempts to move forward, and they were completely exhausted. Having no other option, they left Chennai and took a train home.

“At Katpadi railway station, when they got down at midnight to buy food, they missed the train. Police personnel spoke to the children and Child Line authorities and we were alerted,” P Vedanayagam, head of Vellore District Child Welfare Committee said. They were placed in a state-run facility in the Vellore district, and both the youngsters and their parents attended counselling sessions once the parents were summoned.

The obsession of the girls with BTS

“We learnt that the girls knew the minutest details about the BTS band and the stars, the way they dressed and what not; they had bought shoes similar to the ones used by the pop band stars.” Unrestricted access to smartphones and the BTS members served as their sources of inspiration and passion. “It was very clear to us that they yearned for a life of dance and music.” It was kindly explained to them that their choice ‘to move overseas’ to pursue their goals was a grave error.

Counselling for the children was provided

“We told the children about the importance of education and its value and advised the parents to keep an eye on what their children do.” The teens were told that smartphones and the internet, were useful in everyday life, but should be utilized in a limited way and mostly primarily for education-related purposes. “The family background of the children too cannot be ignored. In the case of one girl, it was a single parent. Another girl’s father is mentally challenged. The mothers of these girls work as farm labourers. They have little or no time to monitor what their children do and what they want.” To ensure that their children receive assistance and direction, the parents were asked to establish appropriate plans for child care. Following counselling, the kids were transported back to their hometown with their parents. They boarded a train on January 6th.

By: Gursharan Kaur

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