New Delhi: Delhi Education Minister Manish Sisodia has said that three Pakistani Hindu refugee children, who had been denied admission in a government school in the city, will now be enrolled after ThePrint brought it to his notice.
The three children — Mona Kumar (18), Ravi Kumar (15) and Sanjina Bai (14) — had enrolled for Class 9 at the Government Co-ed Senior Secondary School in Bhati Mines, Sanjay Colony. They are all members of a Hindu family that migrated from Pakistan’s Sindh province on 4 May.
Jawahar Lal, their uncle, told ThePrint that the children were denied admission as they flouted the age criteria for Class 9. “Four of our children had managed to get registered for admission in the school,” he said. “Now one of them, a girl child, is studying in Class 8 at the school while the other three were expelled for being above the age limit.”
Ravi Kumar, one of the children denied admission, said school authorities had initially told them to buy the uniform and books if they wanted to continue attending school. Their family members bought all this at their own cost.
“We started attending school from 1 August but after a month, school authorities banned our entry at the school,” Ravi said.
When ThePrint talked to the education In-charge of the Bhati Mines school, Pramod Kumar, he presented the documents related to “Age criteria guidelines for Non-Plan Admissions”. He also said that the children were initially granted registration but later on when the final list was prepared, their age was found to be over the limit.
The school administration also cited visa expiry as a reason for expelling these students. But a copy of their visa documents, in possession of ThePrint, clearly shows that the expiry date is due only next year.
When ThePrint talked to Sisodia on the matter, he assured that if the children still live in the same locality there will be no further difficulty in their admission.
Family lived close to Miyan Mithu’s
The family hails from Sindh’s Sukkur district that has a large number of Hindus. The children’s uncle, Jawahar Lal, told ThePrint that the entire region lives in fear of Miyan Mithu, the radical Islamic cleric accused of converting Pakistani Hindu girls to Islam.
“Miyan Mitthu lives just a few yards away from our home there,” Lal said. “His people are so brazen that even the Pakistani Army is scared of touching them.”
The children’s father, Gulsher, 50, said he first came to Delhi in 2016 but his mother did not get a visa and so he returned. After she passed, he brought the children to India. He said that the constant moving had affected their studies.
Lal said that Pakistani Hindu refugee families have been facing hardships at their locality in Chhatarpur’s Bhati gaon. He says they want to name their locality as “Ramkripal mohalla” but the locals continue to refer to it as the Pakistani mohalla. As per his estimate, there are around 4,000 to 5,000 refugees in the area.
The condition of civic amenities in this area is quite poor. Roads are almost non-existent and there are mounds of waste everywhere.
Lal also revealed that a lot of people get scared after seeing his Pakistani passport. “Once I was visiting a court complex to seek assistance from noted social activist Ashok Agarwal regarding admission of these kids but after seeing my Pakistani passport the security guards took me to the police station,” he said.
With inputs from Aneesha Bedi
This report has been updated to correct the fact that Gulsher’s mother passed away and not his wife.