90% disabilities, 100% determination
Asim on wheelchair ‘padayatra’ from Kozhikode to State capital for his school
A video of differently abled boy Mohammed Asim from Velimanna in Kerala’s Kozhikode district interacting with Rahul Gandhi went viral on social media after the Congress president posted it to his Facebook page a fortnight ago.
Asim is now planning to launch a wheelchair ‘padayatra’ to the State Secretariat on February 15 to intensify his demand that an upper primary school in his village be upgraded to help him continue his studies.
Recipient of award
The 13-year-old recipient of the Kerala government’s Ujjwala Balyam Award for child prodigies, who cleared the Class 7 exams in 2018, could not continue his studies last year as the State government decided to file an appeal against a June order of the High Court that directed the authorities to upgrade the school.
Saeed Yamani, Asim’s father, told The Hindu on Sunday, “My son lost an entire academic year as the High Court is yet to start the hearing on the appeal. We thought of launching a Gandhian agitation from the school to the State capital to highlight our demand. I will accompany him.”
Began campaign in 2015
Asim, born without hands and with 90% disabilities, is active in arts and cultural events.
The Education Department upgraded the only government lower primary (LP) school in his village to an upper primary (UP) school after he launched a campaign in 2015.
The government, however, rejected his request to upgrade it to a high school. In his petition to the High Court, Asim had contended that the provisions of the Right to Education Act ensured mandatory education for every child up to Class 8 within a 3 km radius.
There is no government high school in his grama panchayat either.
The court dismissed 133 of the 134 petitions from across the State, which sought to upgrade LP schools to UP schools.
Mr. Yamani said it was difficult for his son to go to the nearest high school, about 5 km away.
“We have informed the Education Department that their promise to arrange a vehicle to take him to the high school is not practical for us. Asim is not keen on their suggestion for homebased education either,” he added.
A file photo of Rahul Gandhi with Asim in Kochi.