Teaching takes leave on voting day

Teaching takes leave on voting day

Rajendra Ashram is one of many children homes for boys in Delhi, managed by Bhartiya Adim Jati Sewak Sangh. This 41-year-old home is home to 78 tribal orphans and other children.

The Ashram also functions as a residential school with five classrooms for children aged between five and 18.

“For the last three years, Delhi government has used our campus for purpose of voting. Our institution is partly funded by the Delhi government,” says Shophar Saum, a house mother.

Ram Gosplan, a student of 12th class, says that the classrooms gave way to four polling booths and they had to remain confined to their dormitories for two days.   

Over 1,200 voters were enlisted to cast their ballot at the booths. “Their small campus saw long queues in the morning,” says a local resident, Jetliner Kumar, one of the many voters at the Ashram. He lives in the vicinity of the children’s home.

“I knew that it is an orphanage, but this is the first time I went inside,” he says.
Usually the boys are discouraged to play in the nearby municipal park, like many other children in the neighbourhood. Their small cemented campus, surrounded by classrooms and dormitories, serve as assembly and ground for sports.

“Children are often seen playing cricket in the evening,” Jitender says.

The polling station saw an unprecedented security arrangement on the day of voting.
Before their scheduled prayer assembly, six-seven policemen took their guard.

The policemen controlled all activities on the narrow road that leads to the polling station and did thorough search before allowing voters inside, mobile phones and bags were not allowed.

“I don’t think kids were feeling intimidated. They were just curious onlookers and so were we,” Jitneyed says, explaining how children were strolling outside their dormitories, which is right across their classrooms-turned-polling booths.

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