Valley students who fled Uttarakhand colleges post-Pulwama attack in 'trouble'

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 us for remaining absent for a month”.

The students had allegedly faced intimidations and threats by the local mobs in the Uttarakhand and some other states after the Pulwama attack in which 40 CRPF men were killed, forcing them to leave for their homes.

“That time colleges refused to provide any security to the students and said they cannot control the mobs. Even the colleges had suggested us to return home for our safety,” said a student on condition of anonymity.

As per the students, they had earlier appeared in the exams held in December and gone for vacations announced by the colleges for January.

“We resumed our classes in February but after Pulwama attack we were left with no choice but to leave for our homes. But now the colleges are penalising us for remaining absent from colleges for a month,” the students said.

Post Pulwama attack, the students and their parents were apprehensive of attacks in outside states and were reluctant to join the colleges. Also, the J&K government had appointed liaison officers for various states to ensure that no student faced any harassment.

“Obviously, it took us time to decide whether to return to colleges or not. There was no assurance of safety given by the outside colleges or 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 a letter to Uttarakhand Chief Minister and sought his personal intervention into the matter.

“The irony is that the same colleges were asking Kashmiri students to leave till the atmosphere gets calm, but now they are asking students to pay a fine for falling short of attendance,” the spokesman of the association said.

“We have appealed to the students not to pay the fine. We are hopeful that it will be waived if the government intervenes,” he said.

However, some students said that of the three colleges that had imposed fine on the students, “two have agreed to deliberate on it”.

“But the authorities in Beehive College of Management and Technology, Uttarakhand, are threatening students to pay the fine or their degrees will be cancelled,” the association spokesman said.

No official in Beehive College, Uttarakhand was available for comment. “The college is closed, officials will be available to speak on the issue tomorrow,” a college functionary said.

J&K governor’s advisor, Khursheed Ganai acknowledged that Valley students were charged with fine for shortage in attendance. “We have activated our liaison officers again who have been asked to take up the matter with the colleges,” he said. “The management of one of the colleges in Uttarakhand has stated that they are running the institution as per their own rules and apparently refused to waive off the fine for students. But I have asked the concerned liaison officer to register the complaint in the CM’s grievance in Uttarakhand,” he said.