Srinagar: Putting up in a tented accommodation on the roadside of Sanat Nagar bypass in Srinagar, Sindhu Sharma (name changed) hailing from Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh lives either by alms, scavenging or by selling petty items on the roadside.
Earning a meagre sum alongside her husband Amit Kumar, Sindhu supports her kids including two daughters Sarika and Nisha with minimal available means.
Having heard the slogans of “Beti Padao Beti Bachao” Sindu desired for a change and subsequently decided to enroll her daughters in a nearby primary school run by the J&K government as the first generation learners of her family.
Sindhu said that she somehow nurtured her unkempt daughters and put on them neat & bright clothes and went to the school in the vicinity with lot of courage and expectations.
The school authorities, she said, sought various documents and later agreed to put their daughters in the classroom with a rider.
She said she was directed to maintain the “proper cleanliness and hygiene” of her little daughters while continuing in school.
She complained for some days her daughters went to school comfortably but allegedly were “thrown out” later on the pretext of being involved in a petty “theft” in the classroom where they were “accused” of “stealing” a notebook of a fellow student.
Ironically, she had not been provided any formal admission in the first place and was allegedly told by the school staff that the school shall first assess the “performance” of her daughters in the classroom to “consider” them for admission and later her daughters according to Sindhu were sent back “refusing” admission.
Demotivated and discouraged Sindhu lost hope and left the dream of educating her daughters.
Immediately upon hearing this ordeal of Sindhu through a local inhabitant Arshad Dijoo, a social activist residing in the same area swiftly brought her ordeal into the notice of the UT administration.
Arshad said that he immediately contacted Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Director School Education Kashmir, Joint Director School Education Kashmir and also intimated the Chief Secretary Arun Kumar Mehta and Rajiv Rai Bhatnagar Advisor to the LG Manoj Sinha, adding that he also communicated same to the Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.
“It was late afternoon yesterday when somebody told me about this mother of two daughters who allegedly were denied admission in a local government school. Therefore, I immediately brought it into the notice of all the senior officers of the government including the Union Ministry of Education Government of India.”
Notably swift cognisance was taken under the Union government’s flagship program of “Beti Padhao Beti Bachao” and by the evening results started to come, Arshad said.
“I was assured immediate action by the Joint Director School Education Rouf Ul Rehman. He was initially pained to learn about this episode but asserted that action will follow as he had sought immediate report from the Chief Education Officer Srinagar besides Zonal Education Officer Batmaloo and other officers including the school principal,” Arshad revealed.
Today morning, Arshad said, he was contacted again by the Directorate of School Education Kashmir and invited to attend the formal admission process of the two daughters of Sindhu, who live by the roadside performing menial jobs in the area.
Earlier, the school staff had also visited the humble tented accommodation of the non-local lady Sindhu in the wee hours and had advised her to come to school alongwith her daughters.
Sindhu to her delight said “the tone had changed and they were welcoming her.”
Meanwhile, Rouf ul Rehman Joint Director School Education Kashmir was kind enough to acknowledge my efforts for bringing this “disturbing matter” into the notice of the Government and was all praise for his role.