UK & World News
Teens Campaign To Stop Friend's Deportation
School students are fighting to stop the deportation of a 19-year-old asylum seeker who is facing removal to her home country without the rest of her family.
Yashika Bageerathi came to Britain in 2011 from Mauritius with her sister and brother to live with her mother, who had fled in 2009.
They travelled on tourist visas but intended to stay to escape a violent uncle said to be connected to a criminal network in the country.
The family says Mauritian authorities are unable to protect them and so have applied for asylum in the UK.
Yashika's application is being treated separately to her family's because she is older than 18.
Her application has failed and she is being held in Yarl's Wood Immigration Detention Centre in Bedford ahead of her removal back to Mauritius on Tuesday.
At a protest march on Sunday, Yashika's mother said: "I want my daughter back here with me, I want the Home Office to give me my daughter here, not send her alone over there."
Yashika, who was due to take her A-Levels this summer, told Sky News that she is terrified by the thought of leaving the country on her own.
"I have absolutely no one there," she said from the detention centre. "My mum is here, my sister, brother, everyone is here. There is nowhere I can go to over there.
"I have no money, I have absolutely nothing."
About 80 pupils from Oasis Academy Hadley, plus teachers and neighbours of the family, marched from Parliament Square to the Home Office with banners chanting: "We want education, they want deportation."
At the Home Office, Yashika's principal handed in a letter for Home Secretary Theresa May asking her to intervene and stop the deportation.
The head teacher, who helped her pupil to get out of the detention centre earlier this year, said Yashika was a talented mathematician who is very popular.
Human rights lawyer Martin Howe described the case as unusual: "The Home Office, for reasons that it will probably try to explain, has decided to split up the family, which is unusual.
"It also seems strange that the mother and younger children's cases appear not to have been decided, yet a decision has been made to move the elder child away from her family."
The Home Office refused to comment on the case but said: "The UK has a proud history of granting asylum to those who need it and we consider every application on its individual merits. We do not routinely comment on individual cases."