Despite Punjab CM’s Assurance, Kashmiris to Pay Late Fee at RIMT
Some students were harassed by the admin and now others have stopped demanding justice, fearing the same treatment.
I am a student at the Regional Institute of Management and Technology (RIMT), located in Punjab’s Mandi Gobindgarh. I am studying here since September 2019 and it is also my first time in Punjab. I hail from Baramulla in Jammu and Kashmir. Due to the unrest in the Valley since 4 August 2019, many parents, including mine, decided it was best to secure the future of their children outside of Kashmir, even if they can’t afford it.
The communication blockade has been vastly reported on, as has the fact that several educational institutions – schools, universities, and colleges – have remained shut. We have been left with no option but to leave Kashmir in hopes for a better future. However, recent events at my university have put that into question.
On 13 December 2019, I went home after giving my first semester exams. The internet was still barred in Kashmir, making us feel caged. There was no means to pay the fee. Like me, many Kashmiri students of RIMT have been unable to pay their fees on time. A batchmate tells me,
“I tried to deposit the fee through numerous ways but I failed as the internet wasn’t working properly. Hundreds of students like me were unable to deposit their dues on time just because we have no internet connection in Kashmir.”
When I came back to Punjab and visited the ‘Students’ section of the university website to pay the fee, a late fee of Rs 10,500 was added to the total amount, which had been due for a month.
Many students tried to visit the RIMT Registrar to get their grievances heard but nothing happened. They tried to reason with the administration because the delay in paying the fees was through no fault of their own. Unfortunately, their problems fell on deaf ears, as many were not even allowed to meet the Registrar and the ones who had managed to get an appointment were apparently told: “Don’t waste my time, get out of here.”
In November, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh had tweeted not to harass Kashmiri students over fee issues but universities seem to be following their own rules.
Some students were harassed in the university and now others have stopped demanding justice, fearing the same treatment.
No one understands how Kashmir’s communication blockade has crippled us. A friend of mine told me,
“The class work started 15 January and at that time I was in Kashmir, totally unaware about the fact. I contacted the administration about the said concern but I was told they can’t solve the matter. I tried to convince them by telling them that internet hasn’t been working in Kashmir, but they said that these are the university’s rules and the matter cannot be helped.”
As of January 2020, classes are going on as normal but they won’t allow us to sit in the exams if we don’t pay the fees. It seems the administration is happy if we don’t pay the fee now because they know that we will have to pay progressively more as time passes.
The suffering students have zipped up their mouths fearing their suspension. When I had a conversation with my parents, I could hear the sound of their helplessness but they didn’t want me to worry.
I know they can afford it and will send the money sooner or later but what about the others? A fellow Kashmiri told me,
“I spoke to my parents after and told them to deposit my fees as soon as possible but they said it would be tough to manage such kind of amount in a short time.”
Many students are from poor backgrounds, their parents are farmers. My friends tell me that their parents feel helpless and just concerned about their children. Students who are left with nothing but to obey, but shouldn’t something be said about this injustice?
RIMT’s Response to The Quint
Mr Rakesh Mohan, the Registrar of RIMT, told The Quint that an internal committee is looking into the matter and is responding to students’ grievances on a case by case basis, in compliance with university rules.
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