Kochi: As Congress president Rahul Gandhi was leaving the house of late parliamentarian MI Shanavas in haste for the party meet at Marine Drive on Tuesday, he paused on hearing a call. "Rahulji… please, come here," said a voice from near the mosque gate. It came from the physically challenged boy Mohammed Asim.
As Rahul walked up to the boy, neglecting security arrangements, Asim made his demand for a school where he can study after the eighth standard. He made the same demand to the government the other day at the inauguration of a protest held by a group for the physically challenged in front of the secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram.
Rahul listened to the boy and took the 12-year old in his arms and posed for a picture with opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala. He shared a short video on the social media later saying, "Asim is a fighter. We are proud of him. I’m sure about that."
Asim, who won last year’s ‘Ujwala Balyam’ award, hails from Velimanna in Kozhikode. Son of Said Yamani, Asim is a student of Velimanna School, which was upgraded to upper primary during the last UDF government. As an order to make it a high school is yet to be implemented by the government, Asim can't attend the school.
Asim and family were waiting for Rahul Gandhi in front of the house hearing about his visit.
Asim, who has 90 per cent physical disability, has launched an agitation last year demanding a high school near his house. Born without both arms, Asim is a bright student and has completed his seventh standard. He wants the Government Mappila UP School at Velimanna where he studied till Class 7 to be upgraded as a high school. The boy, who draws pictures with his toes, had been attending classes and carrying out his other academic activities with the help of his parents.
Velimanna is an underdeveloped area in Omassery grama panchayat. There is no high school in a radius of 5 km and if the school is upgraded, students in six other wards in Omassery as well as four wards in nearby panchayats will benefit, local leaders had claimed.