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College shut, Kashmiri students in Punjab allege cheating

Kashmiri students in Punjab bid cheating
Over 80 students from terrorism-affected Jammu and Kashmir who took admission to an engineering college in Punjab under the Prime Minister's Special Scholarships Scheme (PMSSS) Tuesday alleged they have been cheated after the college shut shop suddenly.

The students and their parents said the institution, Cambridge College of Engineering in Fatehgarh Sahib district, shut shop recently, leaving the students to fend for themselves.

The students alleged that the college authorities misused funds availed from the PMSSS. They complained that the college was not even returning the original certificates of the students.

The scholarship scheme was meant for national integration of alienated Kashmiri youth and was launched in 2012 by the union human resource development (HRD) ministry for higher education of students from the state. The batch of over 80 students was enrolled last year in the Fatehgarh Saheb engineering college.

Qadir Bhat, father of two boys who took admission to the college, told media persons here Tuesday that they were running around to get original documents of his sons and others from the institute so that they can apply for admission elsewhere. "After completion of first year of the B.Tech course, the college suddenly shut down. All that remains in the plot is buffaloes and a watchman," said Bhat, who visited the college campus a few days ago.

"According to the scheme, Rs.225,000 had to be provided to each student for study, hostel and other facilities. This sum never reached the students. They were asked to pay Rs.25,000 as security deposit at the beginning of the course," Bhat pointed out. Sumiya Jan, a B.Tech student of the college, said: "Girls were not even provided proper facilities for hostel. We were put in a private school in Mohali, from where we had to travel every day. There were just 2-3 teachers teaching us all the subjects. There were no facilities for transport, books or uniform provided."

The college was given affiliation by the Punjab Technical University (PTU), despite lack of basic infrastructure and faculty, the students and parents alleged. Usma Hasan, another Kashmiri student, said: "It was a cruel joke played by the college on us who are already torn between violence and an uncertain future in the valley. They have pocketed our scholarship amounts, and to insult us further, the physics classes were taken by the canteen operator."

The students alleged that despite repeated complaints to the PTU vice-chancellor, they did not get much help. "We only want the college to return our original documents and NOC (no objection certificate) so that we can continue our education further and take benefit from the scheme," said Sajad Hassan.

Another student, Khalid Fayaz, said: "If this is how the government is treating the youth of Kashmir who already has suffered so much due to the difficulties created by terrorism in the valley, then there will never be an end to militancy as students like us whose career has been spoilt, will have no option but to resort to violent means."

IANS

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