‘Eligible’ girls protest ‘arbitrary’ selection of beneficiaries

Amid protests by girls alleging pick-and-choose in the selection of beneficiaries, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav launched the Hamari Beti, Uska Kal scheme, under which girls from minority communities are given a one-time cash assistance of Rs 30,000 on passing Class X, at Rampur on Monday.

About a few hundred protesting girls were cordoned off in a park and the police reportedly swung lathis to prevent them from moving out.

The CM gave cheques to as many as 16,322 girls from Moradabad division, which included Bijnore, Moradabad, Amroha, Rampur and Sambhal districts, under the new scheme and also the Kanya Vidya Dhan scheme.

The event was held at the campus of Mohammad Ali Jauhar University in presence of Minorities Welfare Minister Azam Khan and PWD Minister Shivpal Yadav. It coincided with the birth anniversary Mohammad Ali Jauhar.

Under Hamari Beti, Uska Kal scheme, the money is given for pursuing higher studies or for marriage of the beneficiary. Under Kanya Vidya Dhan, which is a similar scheme, Rs 30,000 is given to girls of all communities passing Class XII. While in the first scheme only girls belonging to families whose annual income does not exceed Rs 36,000 are eligible, the income limit for the second scheme is Rs 35,000.

When the function was in progress at Jauhar University, hundreds of protesting girls took to the road and marched towards the venue. They reached the collectorate building when the police swung into action and drove them into nearby Ambedkar Park and prevented them from going any further. The girls claimed that they were eligible for the financial assistance under the scheme but they had not been selected. They alleged that the lists had been prepared by Samajwadi Party leaders who indulged in pick-and-choose.

The girl students were not allowed to leave the park until the function was over and the CM had left Rampur. However, Akhilesh was aware of the developments and in his speech he assured that all eligible girls would get the benefit.

In fact, protests had been going on for the past three days in some districts. On Saturday, girls had blocked the Rampur-Shahabad road by forming a human chain. SDM Ram Sewak Dwivedi had to assure the girls that the list will be prepared fairly and every eligible girl will be accommodated. Protests were also held in Bilaspur, Tanda and Milak areas of Rampur.

At Sambhal, protesting girls damaged the hoardings of Minister of State Iqbal Mehmood. In Amroha, they blocked the national highway. In Moradabad, the girls laid seize to the office of the district inspector of schools. Everywhere, the complaint was the same - arbitrary selection of beneficiaries. In Bijnore, however, the girls were also upset over the district administration order, prohibiting girls from wearing black clothes during the function.

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