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CBSE Bareilly topper Mahima Shah appeals to PMO, Amit Shah to intervene in admission deadlock

Mahima Shah, this year's class 12 CBSE topper from Bareilly in the disabled people's category, has appealed to the Prime Minister's Office, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Union Health Minister J P Nadda asking that she be admitted this year into a veterinary sciences institute in her hometown. Mahima cleared the medical entrance exam, NEET in her first attempt this year, but her admission has been set aside for 2020.

Cerebral palsy has not stopped Mahima Shah from overcoming every hurdle, but Indian style babugiri well might.

18-year-old Mahima, who topped the class 12 CBSE exams in Bareilly this year and went on to clear the medical entrance exam, NEET, in her first attempt, has been asked to wait an entire year before she can enroll in the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) in her hometown. Her admission has been delayed for no fault of hers.

The Veterinary Council of India (VCI) has failed to update its admission guidelines to reflect the provisions of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016/. Over two years after the Act came into force, the VCI guidelines still state that anyone with a disability above 50% cannot study veterinary medicine.

Mahima's father Shailendra Shah had appealed to Giriraj Singh, Union Minister, Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries to intervene and grant her interim admission until the VCI guidelines are updated but officials have said her case will be considered next year. This is a huge setback for Mahima, who fought many odds to take the NEET, From battling health conditions to getting last minute permission to use a scribe, it's been a battle every step of the way.

Her father has now written a letter of appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Union Health Minister J P Nadda to intervene and ensure she gets admission at IVRI, Bareilly. The letter says:

Mahima has been registered for admission at IVRI Deemed University, Izatnagar, Bareilly. The Right of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 (RPwD-2016), section-I, part -II, chapter-III, point-16 (i), page-8 allows persons with disabilities admission in any institution. The Medical Council of India under guidelines of RPWD Act has allowed admission to people with up to 80% disability suffering from Cerebral Palsy under locomotor disability. - Shailendra Shah, Mahima's father

What the Act says

Given her health needs, Mahima's parents want her to study in the same city where they live so that they can give her medical help and care when the need arises. "Under RPWD Act, there is a clause to provide reasonable accommodation according to the individual's requirements", points out Shah. "So, we are not asking for anything extraordinary".

Time is running out for Mahima as counselling for admission into IVRI started on 22 August. "She has not applied for counselling anywhere else as her dream is to study at IVRI close to her family. Given her extraordinary determination, I feel the Centre must intervene", says her father.

Mahima's dream is to become an animal behaviourist and she has wanted to study biological sciences from childhood. "I love animals and my goal is to be veterinary animal behaviourist. This way I can fulfil my dream of working for the good of animals."

Now her only hope is for an intervention from the highest levels of government

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