Yashika Bageerathi removal: Enfield student 'grateful' for support

By Beth Rose
BBC News

Image source, Menha Zola/PA wire
Image caption,
Yashika Bageerathi's case sparked a petition which attracted 175,000 signatures

An A-level student who was removed to Mauritius weeks before sitting her exams has said she is "grateful" for all the support she received.

Yashika Bageerathi, 19, from Enfield, was removed in April despite protests.

She said since returning she had passed her exams and had achieved the results needed to apply for university.

The former Oasis Academy Hadley student said it was a "privilege" to sit British exams and ensure "my years of hard work did not go to waste".

Miss Bageerathi arrived in the UK in 2011 with her mother and younger brother and sister having left their home to escape a relative who was physically abusive.

Because of her age her application for asylum was considered separately and it was refused by the Home Office earlier this year on the basis she was not considered to be in need of protection.

She was returned to her native country on her own in April, two months before sitting her exams.

Frustrated by the decision, Miss Bageerathi's school organised a protest in Parliament Square and started a petition which attracted more than 175,000 signatures.

'Turbulent and surreal'

Her case was also taken to the High Court when her lawyers applied for an injunction to block the removal but it was rejected.

Miss Bageerathi said: "The last six months of my life have been more turbulent and surreal than I ever expected.

"In this episode I believe I have seen the best and worst that humanity has to offer."

Image source, PA
Image caption,
Demonstrators gathered in Parliament Square in April to protest against her removal

Despite her unhappiness at having to leave the UK for her country of birth she said she wanted to "thank the people and authorities of Mauritius".

"My reluctance to return was never intended as a criticism of this country or her people," she said.

"It was simply a result of my fear about returning to the proximity of a situation that had initially driven me and my family away from the island.

"Since being returned here I have received a considerable amount of support."

The Home Office said it would not comment on whether her mother and siblings' application for asylum had yet been considered.

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