Madhu, a 16-year old Hindu refugee girl from Pakistan wants to study and become a police officer. However, a government school in Sanjay Colony in Bhati Mines area of South Delhi has denied her admission, citing lack of necessary paperwork. Madhu has consequently written to the Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal asking for help in the matter.
Madhu left the Sindh Province in Pakistan 2 years ago and arrived in Delhi with her mother, brother, maternal uncle and her cousins. Her father had passed away a long time ago. Her mother too left back for Pakistan after a few months, due to some personal issues.
Madhu says that she was a 9th standard student in Pakistan 2 years ago. As a student, she faced religious discrimination in Pakistan. She felt unsafe and humiliated at school. Being a Hindu, she was not allowed to use a glass to drink water and was only allowed to use her hands for the purpose. Her classmates maintained distance from her. Now that she is in Delhi all she wants is to continue her education but the school has refused to take her.
“When we went to the government school in Bhatti mines, they told us she was ‘overage’. Then they asked for a transfer certificate, but we had left the same in Pakistan. The school then asked for her Aadhaar card. When we got that made, they asked for some other documents as she is still a Pakistani refugee,” her uncle Jevar said.
The school authorities say that they have no problem in enrolling Madhu but she doesn’t have the necessary documents required to complete the formalities. “As per norms, she has to fulfil all requirements such as transfer certificate/aadhaar card/affidavit” Om Prakash Sharma, Vice-Principal of the higher secondary school said.
Madhu says that it is impossible for her to arrange those papers which she left in Pakistan from where she and her family fled religious persecution two years ago.
Madhu has written a letter to Arvind Kejriwal, narrating her ordeal and pleading to the Chief Minister and HRD Minister to accommodate her in the government co-ed senior secondary school. She has not received any reply so far. Determined to secure education for herself, she has even approached the All India Parents Association with her grievance.
Ashoka Agarwal, Social Worker and President of the Delhi Parents Association said, “The Pakistani girl Madhu contacted me after the school refused her admission. I have written a letter to Delhi CM. When we provide Pakistani refugees with water, electricity connection and a house to live in, why can’t we also provide them education?. If we can’t then I doubt the validity of the Slogan ‘Beti Padhao, Beti Bachao.”
The All India Parents Association has now written to the Chief Minister asking him to take a re-look at the norms that come in the way of education of such children.
“It is submitted that education is an important aspect of right to life and she and other such children who had to discontinue their education because of circumstances, must be accommodated in the school education system by suitably modifying/relaxing the rules and regulations.”
Madhu’s family just want one thing and that is for their young daughter to be able to fulfil her dreams. Her brother Lakhbir said, “I request the government to please provide Madhu with admission into a school.”
The school may have turned her down but Madhu and her family are still hopeful that the government will help them at their time of need.