DEHRADUN: Kashmiri students face a dire situation as they are fined over late payment of fee and many are being not allowed to sit in examinations in the state of Uttarakhand due to short attendance.
According to rules, the attendance should be 75% to be able to take semester examinations.
A student of bachelor in business administration from a private college in Dehradun, whose fee is Rs 50,000 said, "I have been fined Rs 5000. They also told me that my attendance is short. I went to my home state in August and was able to come back in October only. The lockdown has disrupted everything in our lives."
The student did not want to be identified fearing vindictive behaviour by the college administration.
With a family income of Rs 10,000 before the lockdown which started on August 5, 2019, his family is still struggling to make ends meet.
"Our produce of apples and horticulture was wasted and now we rely on poultry, sheep and goat which my family rears," said the resident of Kashmir.
According to Nasir Khuehami, spokesperson of Jammu and Kashmir Students Organization, there are over 3000 Kashmiri students in Dehradun.
Majority of these students have opted for engineering and paramedical courses. The fee of these courses ranges between Rs 20000-200000 per semester.
On November 28, 2019, Khuehami tweeted about the students facing such issues in Punjab and Uttarakhand after which chief minister of Punjab, Amrinder Singh responded and assured that this will not be allowed in Punjab.
"Within 12 hours Punjab government issued an order banning the colleges from imposing fine or harassing the students but the Uttarakhand government did nothing despite our repeated requests," said Khuehami, mass communication student in Dehradun.
He also alleged that high ranking officials and ministers just gave empty assurances and did nothing to provide the Kashmiri students much-needed respite.
"Are we not Indians? Our fee was delayed due to lockdown and our source of income was wasted. Many were not able to send money and mostly failed to arrange given the losses they had to bear due to lockdown. We requested a cabinet minister and many high ranking officials of Uttarakhand government and they promised to resolve the matter like Punjab did. Nothing has happened till the moment, " added Khuehami.
However, some colleges have waived the fine and are allowing the students to attend the exams considering issues of Kashmiri students on humanitarian grounds.
A Kashmiri student pursuing engineering from Maya Group of Colleges in Dehradun confirmed this.
"Our college has waived our fine and is allowing us to take exams. We are thankful for understanding our problems," said the student on the condition of anonymity.
Uttarakhand government official whom students claim to have met was not available for the comment.