In Brief

Yashika Bageerathi: Home Office accused of 'cruel game'

Cara Delevingne among supporters of campaign against deportation of schoolgirl and her family

140326-yashika.jpg

SUPPORTERS of 19-year old A-level student Yashika Bageerathi, who faces deportation to Mauritius, have described her ordeal as a "cruel game".

Bageerathi, who came to the UK with her family in 2012 to escape a relative with criminal connections, was due to be sent back to the Indian Ocean nation on her own. Her supporters had hoped to overturn the decision by citing her right to a family life. However, the Home Office has now turned down the asylum applications of her mother and two younger sisters, rendering that defence redundant.

Yashika's case had been dealt with separately to that of her family because she is an adult.

One of her classmates told the Evening Standard: "We are appalled by the decision. They have used one of our arguments against us and it is a cynical betrayal. We are now fighting for four people."

Yashika is currently being held at Yarl's Wood detention centre. The Guardian says that she is "extremely frightened" of being sent back. "He [the family member] is already after our lives, he says he has people waiting at the airport for us to come back," she told the paper.

Yashika is a top student at her school in Enfield and had been expected to get straight A*s in her exams. She had already been accepted to all five of her university choices. Teachers called deporting her, especially in the middle of her A-levels, an "uncompassionate and illogical act of absurdity".

A petition and social media campaign using the hashtag #FightForYashika have been launched by online campaigners. The appeal has been supported by teachers, classmates, as well as model Cara Delevingne and campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez.

British Airways has been commended by campaigners for refusing to transport Yashika on their flight to Mauritius yesterday. Virgin and other airlines are being asked to do the same.

Yashika and her family have the right to appeal against the Home Office ruling, reports the Standard.

A Home Office spokesman said they would not comment on individual cases, but insisted the UK has "a proud history of granting asylum to those who need it and we consider every application on its individual merits".

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