About 80 Bangladeshi students are currently studying at SAU
Students of first-year master’s and PhD programs at South Asian University (SAU) in New Delhi are continuing to boycott classes and have placed several demands before the university authorities.
The students began boycotting classes on March 28. Their demands include the immediate disbursement of scholarships with arrears, issuance of bona fide certificates for all non-Indian students for visa purposes, and phased accommodations on campus.
About 80 Bangladeshi students are currently studying at SAU, including 30 students in the 2020-21 academic session. The Bangladeshi students are boycotting online classes alongside the other students.
The students claim they were forced to go for the boycott as the university authorities remained unresponsive to their demands over the past seven months. The students were also angered by reports that the university authorities had mailed Indian embassies in SAARC countries and asked them not to clear visas for students when visas were needed for scholarship purposes.
Dhaka Tribune has obtained a statement from the Indian embassy in Kabul that said visas would be issued to all students again once physical classes resumed.
A decision on physical classes would be taken after observing the pandemic situation in Delhi and surrounding districts, the statement added.
The students’ demands:
1. Immediate disbursal of PhD and Master scholarships/free-ships with arrears without physical verification or through e-verification.
2. Immediate steps to complete the UGC-JRF approval process and approve fellowships for those eligible students pending for the past few months.
3. Immediate steps for phased accommodations on the SAU campus. If not, provide 8000/- INR housing allowance per month as per SAU rules.
4. Issuance of bona fide certificates for all non-Indian students for visa purposes.
5. Expedite the verification of non-Indian students’ income certificates for free-ship purposes.
6. Initiate reimbursement of the tuition fees to whoever qualifies without any more delay.
An Indian SAU student said: “In some countries, the internet is expensive, and it is not possible to continue online classes with poor internet speed. We are in a financial crisis but are not getting scholarships.”
A master’s student at the SAU department of sociology said: “Other students even got permission to join the campus over the last few months. All of them are getting scholarships and everything else. Why are we being denied?”
Another student said: “We are facing financial hardship due to the panic. The university takes Rs44,000 during admission, which is supposed to be refunded, but they are holding on to the money.”
He also said students would be able to open a bank account in India if they were staying on the campus, and that would make it easier for them to receive scholarships.
However, a PhD student of the university said he had opened a bank account in India but he was not receiving the scholarships he was entitled to.
Two representatives of the South Asian University Researchers Association (SAURA), an elected student organization at SAU, told this correspondent they recently met with the university authorities.
“They have decided to disburse scholarships step-by-step, and to allow non-Indian students to physically come to the campus eventually. They have assured that they will disburse scholarships to Indians very quickly,” one of the representatives said.
An official notice was yet to be issued, they added.