Rewari, Haryana: Seven days on, the 13 girls of Rewari’s Gothra Tappa village, who have been on a hunger strike demanding that their school be upgraded to Class 12, are unfazed and unrelenting even as up to five girls have been repeatedly hospitalized for dehydration in the local Trauma Centre, and temperatures have touched 42 degrees in the district.
In a strong symbolic message to the authorities, today, the girls have installed a lock on their school gate to ensure that the assurances being given to them by the state are implemented and don’t just remain announcements.
“We were visited by the (Education) Minister yesterday, but until we don’t get a written-order from the authorities sanctioning the upgrade of our school we will continue the fast”, said Sujata, protesting alongside nearly 100 female students of class 9 and 10 since 9 May.
Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma who had visited the village yesterday had said the upgrade would be ordered soon. He hadn’t announced a date. The girls, who will graduate from class 10 in a few months have said that they cannot walk three kilometers to the nearest senior school because the route was unsafe, unpatrolled and attracted miscreants who harassed them.
Today, actor Randeep Hooda who is also from Haryana, tweeted in support of the girls urging the chief minister’s office to intervene and nab the culprits who were perpetrating daily sexual sexual harrasment when the girls travelled to the neighbouring village.
“If this is true..This is not what we stand for..I would urge @cmohry to make an example of the culprits”, Mr Hooda tweeted.
“All we want is for our school to be upgraded (to class 12) because we genuinely believe in the idea of ‘Beti Padhao’. We are installing this lock, so that the state can actually help open the door to our future”, said Pooja, a class 10 student.
“There are so many announcements but we want the government to walk the talk. These young girls have bright futures and that is why they are here today”, said Suresh Chauhan, the sarpanch of Gothra Thappa.
“How can we trust the government’s reassurances? When my daughter fell ill I had to take her to the hospital on my bike. Not a single government ambulance came to our aid,” said a relative of one of the girls who did not wish to be named.