Published: 26th April 2019
Fight to study: Specially-abled youngster from Kerala determined to continue his fight for better education
Aasim, who completed Class VII from the Velimanna Government Mappila UP School, has been urging the government to upgrade the school to a high school
Differently abled boy Muhammed Aasim from Velimanna in Kozhikode, who has been running from pillar to post during the last one-and-a-half years seeking upgrading of his school to a high school, proves he is a real fighter. Despite missing one year of school and failing to get any positive response from the government till date, Aasim is determined to continue his fight for justice.
Aasim, who completed Class VII from the Velimanna Government Mappila UP School, has been urging the government to upgrade the school to a high school for himself and for the benefit of several other students from the region. Aasim, according to his family, hasn't received a scholarship or other allowances for differently abled students in the last year as he wasn't attending school during the period.
His family, supported by the residents of Velimanna and other well-wishers, has decided to undertake a hunger strike for the cause ahead of school reopening. Aasim, who suffers from a 90 per cent disability, had garnered much attention when he travelled from Kozhikode to Thiruvananthapuram in his wheelchair seeking the urgent intervention of the state government in the matter.
Raising the slogan 'Enikum Padikkanam' (I too want to study), Aasim, accompanied by social worker Harish Raj and other volunteers, covered more than 450 km in his wheelchair during the 55-day journey. Aasim had received immense support from the people, voluntary organisations, religious institutions and others during the yatra. But, nothing from the government's side, said Aasim's father Muhammed Saeed. Aasim made headlines in November 2017 when he wrote a letter to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan requesting the upgrading of his school so that he can continue his education. Born without hands, Aasim has trained himself to write with his feet. Aasim had staged a dharna in front of the District Collectorate here in April 2018.
The School Upgradation committee had also undertaken a signature campaign to press their demand. The committee wants the government to consider Aasim's as a special case on humanitarian grounds as travelling to the nearest schools, which is 5-10 km away from his house, will be difficult for Aasim who needs his parents' help to commute to the school and meet his basic needs. Aasim's chances of continuing education brightened after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's office directed the Union Human Resource Development Ministry last month to take appropriate action to help Aasim continue his education while responding to an online petition sent by Noushad Thekkayil, a human rights activist following which MHRD directed the Secretary, General Education Department, to take appropriate action. However, the department said it cannot intervene as the matter was still pending before the court.
Aasim's father had filed a petition in the court seeking a direction to the state government to upgrade the school. In June 2018, The High Court had directed the Education Department to ensure Aasim is permitted to pursue Class VIII at the same school, by sanctioning Class VIII as a special case. The court had dismissed 134 similar petitions for the upgrading of schools on the same day. But the government moved HC against the order passed by a single-judge bench. The case has been referred to a larger bench by the Division Bench, said School PTA president Anvar Sadath. The state Education Department has reportedly not responded to the repeated reminders sent by The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights in the matter.