15 Months and Counting: SAU Refuses To Pay Stipend to Afghan Students
If SAU can collect fees from all over the world, why is it so difficult for them to send the stipend to students?
An Afghan national, I am a PhD student at the South Asian University in New Delhi. I enrolled in a programme in October 2020 but was unable to travel due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Immediately after the enrollment, the university informed us about the online classes. Despite frequent requests to the university, informing them about the technical and logistical issues that we face in our country, they were adamant about conducting online classes.
They asked us to stay in our respective countries and continue with online classes. From October 2020 to July 2021, the classes for two semesters were conducted online.
Since the beginning of the online classes, we kept asking for our monthly stipend of Rs 25,000 but were informed by the university that it was not possible for them to wire the money outside India.
We were told that once we come to India and open an account with an Indian bank, the money would be credited.
In July 2021, the students in Afghanistan received an e-mail from the university, asking us to apply for an Indian visa and eventual return to the campus in New Delhi.
Most of the students, including me, applied for the visa but the process was too slow. And just after two weeks, the Afghan government collapsed and the Indian embassy in Kabul closed indefinitely.
All Indian diplomats left the country without even returning the passports of the students, submitted along with the visa application.
After Taliban's takeover, we realised that going to SAU campus would not be possible anytime soon, so we requested the university to consider sending the stipend to students in Afghanistan.
We did not receive any response from them.
It has been a really difficult time for all of us. And to continue our studies without any financial support from the university has been particularly hard.
Considering that there is no visa, and no available flight, how does the university expect us to come to India?
Most of the Afghan students, including me, are not from well-off families. We are solely dependent on the stipend that we are supposed to receive from our university. Even our families are dependent on this money.
In the last few months, I have spent all the savings that I had. Right now, I am unable to rent a single room in Kabul or even buy an internet data pack.
Despite our repeated requests, we have not received any official response from the university. We also made a request that the university could wire the money to accounts of friends living in India, authorised by us, who could then transfer the money to Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the university ignored our request and has not even responded to us.
If the university can collect fees from all over the world, why is it so difficult for them to send the stipend to students who desperately need it?
It has been over 15 months since we joined the university and we are yet to receive our stipend. It is sad and unfortunate to see how inconsiderate the university is being.
The Quint reached out to the South Asian University but there has been no response. As soon as we receive a response, the story would be updated.
(The author is a PhD student pursuing Sociology at the South Asian University, New Delhi. All 'My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)
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