KOCHI: Determined to study, Mohammed Asim, a 12-year-old, has covered over 250 km on his wheelchair, from Vennimala Government Upper Primary School, Kozhikode to Kochi, on Sunday. The 24-day-long 'yatra' on a wheelchair is being undertaken to protest against the state government for turning down a proposal for upgrading his school to higher secondary.
After Kochi, Asim moved towards Thiruvananthapuram and is expected to reach there on April 1. Accompanied by Harish Raj, a social worker from Thrissur, Mohammed's journey is filled with hopes for the future."I want to continue studying in my school along with my friends," said Mohammed, while speaking to Express. "The Right to Education is being violated here and his fight is for a just cause. I will stand with him until he wins. We are hoping to reach Thiruvananthapuram on April 1," said Harish Raj.
Considering the health of Mohammed, who is physically challenged, the timings of the walk was rescheduled from 7 am to 10 am and from 4 pm to 7 pm. "Many have questioned us regarding our motive. We are not harassing him by making him protest under the scorching sun. The police and the child protection officers are convinced about the modified timings," said Harish.
Though miles away from his family, Mohammed's parents are very hopeful and pray his struggles bear fruit. "At a very young age, he is very confident and inspite of our disapproval, he volunteered for this walk. There are over 1,400 students in Vennimala School and he is representing the needs of the entire student community here," said Saeed Yamani, Asim’s father.
At night, they find safe resort at homes of kind-hearted people or at churches. "We do not find homes every day to rest," said Harish, who was resting at Mujeeb Rahman's house here at Vennala near Palarivattom.Along with the protest walk, the team has been collecting signatures from people across the state, to submit a collective request to the Chief Minister, seeking upgradation of the school. "Over 7,000 signatures have been collected, and people are supportive," said Harish.