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Camden New Journal - By SIMON WROE
Published: 17 January 2008
Zarine Rentia with mother Tasnim, and supporters Selina Barry, Celia Wheedon, Gerry Robinson, Tim Buley, Jagjeet Bhangra and Hilary PlewsZarine Rentia with mother Tasnim, and supporters Selina Barry, Celia Wheedon, Gerry Robinson, Tim Buley, Jagjeet Bhangra and Hilary Plews
Zarine pleads: ‘Don’t send me back to a
miserable life’

AN immigration judge heard this week why a teenager suffering from a rare genetic disease should be allowed to stay in England.
Zarine Rentia, a 15-year-old student at South Camden Community School, was diagnosed with the one-in-a-million Fanconi-Bickel Syndrome after her arrival in the UK three years ago. She faces deportation to India if her plea fails.
Zarine’s mother Tasnim told the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal hearing in Taylor House, Clerkenwell, that, in India prior to diagnosis, her daughter had been “totally dependent”, needing to be carried everywhere and unable to attend school.
The condition renders bones extremely brittle, causing Zarine to suffer multiple fractures. Mrs Rentia said: “In India, my child suffered a lot. But after coming here she got her missed childhood back – her education, mobility, independence.
“If she returns to India her life will be the same as it was before.”
The court heard that more than 2,000 supporters have signed a petition backing Zarine, a wheelchair user expected to achieve good GCSE grades later this year.
Zarine said: “If I had to go back to India my life would be miserable. I would be totally dependent on my mother, which I don’t want to be. I want to be an independent person.”
But Mathew Hoffmann, representing the Home Office, insisted the case should “not be judged on sympathy”.
He said: “It is clear from the medical reports that the appellant is not in the same condition as when she came to the country – she’s active, she attends school.”
Zarine broke down in tears as he added: “Now that she has been diagnosed she can expect the same treatment as any other sufferer in India. India has a well-respected health care system. We’re not talking about a third world country here.”
Tim Buley, for Zarine, said the treatment which had transformed her life would not be available in India.
He added: “This is a girl who has taken the opportunity she has been given with both hands. This is a private life she couldn’t have had in India due to her exceptional circumstances.
“Having allowed her to flourish, would it be right to then take it away when it has made such a vast difference to her life?”
A decision is expected in three to four weeks.

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