Student Yashika Bageerathi removed from UK as legal bid fails
- 2 April 2014
- From the section London
An A-Level student from north London has been removed from the country and has flown back to Mauritius after a last ditch legal challenge failed.
Earlier a High Court judge refused to grant an injunction to block the removal of Yashika Bageerathi.
The 19-year-old's lawyers had wanted her to remain in the UK so she could take her case to the Court of Appeal.
Her cause sparked a petition which has 175,000 signatures as well as a protest through London.
The student, who has been in the UK since 2011, left on an Air Mauritius flight which took off from Heathrow Airport at 21:00 BST.
Ms Bageerathi, who was two months away from taking her A-Level exams at Oasis Academy Hadley in Enfield, told the BBC it was unfair to force her to leave.
Speaking from the immigration service van taking her to the airport, the student had said she and her family would be prepared to leave the UK for a "safe place" once she had completed her studies.
She told the BBC's home affairs correspondent Tom Symonds it was unfair she was being forced to leave the UK.
The Home Office said it had received assurances the student would be able to complete her tuition in Mauritius.
Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Committee, wrote to the Home Secretary asking her to "urgently reconsider" the "needlessly cruel" decision to deport the student.
Ms Bageerathi's school principal Lynne Dawes said the student was "petrified".
Ms Dawes, who said she had spoken to Ms Bageerathi at 14:00 BST, said: "I just cannot believe they would send her back six weeks from her exams."
Speaking to BBC News, she added: "Why can't there just be some compassion and humanity to allow her to stay and do those A-Levels?
"I know there are laws but I just cannot get why, in effect, what is a few more months. It wouldn't hurt anyone over here, but it would make such a massive difference to her life."
She said there was "no compassion being shown" and that she was "embarrassed to be British".
Failed asylum bid
Air Mauritius said it had refused to take her last Sunday because all of the administrative and security conditions had not been met. It said as these had now been fulfilled, it had no choice other than to fly her.
It said it regretted "this situation, but as all airline companies cannot but abide by decisions taken by relevant authorities".
On Tuesday, Ms Bageerathi's mother, Sowbhagyawatee, had asked the Home Affairs Committee to release her.
In the letter to the Home Secretary, Mr Vaz said that neither a senior immigration official nor Immigration Minister James Brokenshire had offered a "compelling reason" why the student should be deported before being allowed to sit her examinations next month.
"It is a hardship enough for this young woman to be separated from her family and returned to Mauritius where she claims she fears persecution," he wrote.
"To interrupt her education at this late stage in order to do so seems needlessly cruel.
"It is within your gift as Home Secretary to defer Yashika's deportation and I strongly urge you to do so."
A Home Office spokesman said: "We consider every claim for asylum on its individual merits and in this case the applicant was not considered to be in need of protection.
"The case has gone through the proper legal process and our decision has been supported by the courts on five separate occasions."
Ms Bageerathi has been held in Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre in Bedfordshire since 19 March.
Her school friends held a protest in Parliament Square on Saturday.
She had come to the UK with her mother and younger brother and sister from Mauritius in 2011 to escape a relative who was physically abusive.
The family claimed asylum last summer. Her mother and siblings also face removal from the UK.
Owing to Ms Bageerathi's age, her application was considered separately and she was forced to return to Mauritius alone.