THE Home Office’s forced deportation of 19-year-old female Mauritian student Yashika Bageerathi was stopped yesterday after Air Mauritius refused to fly her.
Yashika, who remains in Yarl’s Wood Immigrant Detention Centre, Bedfordshire, where she has been incarcerated since 19th March, was scheduled to be on a flight from Heathrow at 17:00 BST yesterday afternoon, having been given a plane ticket by the Home Office and told ‘removal may be enforced’.
However: ‘Yashika was told last night she wouldn’t be on the flight,’ the schoolgirl’s headmistress, Lynne Dawes, reported yesterday.
Ms Dawes, principal of the Oasis Academy Hadley, Enfield, speaking outside the Home Office, said: ‘We believe, and it’s been quite complicated trying to find out from the removal section of the Home Office, our legal team has been trying to find this out, but we believe now that Air Mauritius refused to fly her.
‘Yashika was told about an hour ago, she met with a Home Office official and they said there had been technical problems with the plane. So it’s to do with Air Mauritius not being prepared to fly her.’
Asked why Air Mauritius refused to fly her, Lynne Dawes replied: ‘A lot of people have signed our petition and have been really supporting Yashika, so I can only think that maybe they have listened to what the people are saying, that they feel it is wrong for Yashika to be sent back by herself.
‘But we have no official information on this and this is one of the hardest things, just trying to understand what is happening to Yashika and her family.’
Ms Dawes added: ‘I’ve spoken to her a couple of times, I spoke to her first thing this morning and last night. She phoned me late last night just after she heard she wasn’t going to go back; she rang me just after she had spoken to a Home Office official.
‘She’s finding it incredibly hard, obviously really, really thankful that she’s not gone back, but not knowing what the next step is, it’s like a rollercoaster for her, one minute it’s good news and the next minute it’s bad news.
‘It’s very, very difficult for the family. I rang Yashika’s mum last night just after I’d spoken to Yashika and she was just in floods of tears, she’s finding this so hard to deal with, as are Yashika’s brothers and sisters. It’s very difficult for the whole family. The students at our academy started this campaign and have been driving it forward and are really supporting Yashika staying here.’
Over 100 pupils from the school held a protest in Parliament Square on Saturday, where her best friend Courage Emeka, 17, of Barnet, said: ‘I spoke to Yashika last night she’s calmed down a lot. She was really upset last week and frightened, but she’s calmer now.’
A Home Office spokesperson said: ‘This case has gone through the proper legal process and our decision has been supported by the courts.
Home Secretary Theresa May said it would be inappropriate to ‘interfere’ adding that the case had gone through the ‘proper process’ and she would not be stepping in to prevent Yashika’s deportation.