In a bizarre move, some colleges in Uttarakhand have "penalised" valley students who fled the institutions in the wake of Pulwama attack in February, for "shortage in attendance".
According to the students the colleges "are penalising usfor remaining absent for a month".
The students had allegedly faced intimidations and threatsby the local mobs in the Uttarakhand and some other states after the Pulwamaattack in which 40 CRPF men were killed, forcing them to leave for their homes.
"That time colleges refused to provide any security to thestudents and said they cannot control the mobs. Even the colleges had suggestedus to return home for our safety," said a student on condition of anonymity.
As per the students, they had earlier appeared in the examsheld in December and gone for vacations announced by the colleges for January.
"We resumed our classes in February but after Pulwama attackwe were left with no choice but to leave for our homes. But now the collegesare penalising us for remaining absent from colleges for a month," the studentssaid.
Post Pulwama attack, the students and their parents wereapprehensive of attacks in outside states and were reluctant to join thecolleges. Also, the J&K government had appointed liaison officers forvarious states to ensure that no student faced any harassment.
"Obviously, it took us time to decide whether to return tocolleges or not. There was no assurance of safety given by the outside collegesor the authorities here," said a female student who wished not to be named.
She said penalising the students under the pretext of"shortage cases" was another form of "harassment".
Meanwhile, the J&K students association has written aletter to Uttarakhand Chief Minister and sought his personal intervention intothe matter.
"The irony is that the same colleges were asking Kashmiristudents to leave till the atmosphere gets calm, but now they are askingstudents to pay a fine for falling short of attendance," the spokesman of theassociation said.
"We have appealed to the students not to pay the fine. Weare hopeful that it will be waived if the government intervenes," he said.
However, some students said that of the three colleges thathad imposed fine on the students, "two have agreed to deliberate on it".
"But the authorities in Beehive College of Management andTechnology, Uttarakhand, are threatening students to pay the fine or theirdegrees will be cancelled," the association spokesman said.
No official in Beehive College, Uttarakhand was availablefor comment. "The college is closed, officials will be available to speak onthe issue tomorrow," a college functionary said.
J&K governor's advisor, Khursheed Ganai acknowledgedthat Valley students were charged with fine for shortage in attendance. "Wehave activated our liaison officers again who have been asked to take up thematter with the colleges," he said."The management of one of the colleges inUttarakhand has stated that they are running the institution as per their ownrules and apparently refused to waive off the fine for students. But I haveasked the concerned liaison officer to register the complaint in the CM'sgrievance in Uttarakhand," he said.