Haryana govt gives in to girl students' protest

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Facing severe criticism for its failure to ensure safety of women in the Haryana, Manohar Lal Khattar Government seems to have finally woken up from deep slumber and accepted the demand of more than 80 girls, who were sitting on a hunger strike since May 10 demanding upgradation of their village high school to senior secondary school in Rewari.

The fear of harassment in villages of Haryana discourages many parents from sending their girls to school. A notification to this effect has also been issued by the School Education Department.

But the biggest hurdle that stood in the way was that according to the district education authorities, the school did not fulfil the basic conditions required for up-gradation.

One of the girls on hunger strike said: "We fear harassment and molestation by youths of other villages and hence, we are demanding upgradations of our school up to Class XII".

According to a senior BJP leader, the government, based on the feedback from its trouble-shooters, hoped that the girls and villagers will get exhausted and call off the strike.

Talking to media, Haryana Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma said that a principal has been appointed who will take care of admissions.

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"A liquor shop had also opened on the route, which made things all the more hard for us", a protester said.

With around 10 girls falling unconscious and rushed to hospital following their indefinite hunger strike, the Haryana government on Wednesday gave in and announced that the government school in their village will be upgraded.

Right from the beginning of this local agitation, the government misread the resolve of these near 70 matriculate girls-backed by the Panchayat-who used to walk about 3km to study in the nearest senior secondary school and allegedly faced harassment by the bike-borne Romeos. "The students will continue with the stir till they receive a copy from the government mentioning that the school has been upgraded", said Chauhan. They teased us and made it tough to go to school.

A year ago a school girl was allegedly raped on way to school in the district.

"Private schools have just 20 to 30 students enrolled in Class 11 and 12, how come they fulfil the criteria and our school doesn't", Shewta Devi, mother of a schoolgirl said.

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